Saturday, September 17, 2016

CM Meet fails, but we are hopeful for future! #MahanadiPeaceInitiative Update: 17th September 2016 - Ranjan Panda

#MahanadiPeaceInitiative Update: 17th September 2016

Dear Friends/Co-sailors,

Greetings from Mahanadi River Waterkeeper!

Today, the Odisha and Chhattisgarh Chief Ministers had a two and half hour long meeting with facilitation of the Central Water Resources Minister.  We can call the meeting a failure as both of them could not agree on most of the points of discussion.

With the ongoing bitterness in the war waged by both of them, we can understand that a trust deficit has descended.  However, we are hopeful that the discussion will continue.  We have hope that the CMs will accede to our urges and continue the dialogue in a more cohesive, logical, scientific and transparent manner.
  
Amid this gloomy scenario of today however, we realized one good thing from the Odisha CM's media statements (at least from his 'words') that he has considered some of our suggestions emailed to him on 14th September 2016. In fact, these suggestions we had already given to him on 1st July when our first email on this Initiative was sent to the CM.  

We had asked both the riparian states to constitute joint independent expert group to study the basin status/stress from the day one.  Then, we have also been asking the governments to chalk out a joint and strong action plan to protect all ecological hot spots in the basin such as Debrigarh, Huma, Satkosia, Gahirmatha, Chilika etc.  Today, from the Odisha CM's media statements it seems the Odisha govt. has put up these proposals in the meeting.  That's welcome news. 

We are yet to know about other proposals.  Will update you as and when the details come in.  

Not surprisingly the Chhattisgarh CM, after the meeting today, made a very illogical and immature statement.  He advised Odisha to tap the 57% water that is getting wasted to the sea.  He should understand that there is nothing called a 'waste flow' in a river and the basin's ecological balance will be further severely disturbed if all the water that flows to the Bay of Bengal is obstructed.  In fact, we have already written to both the CMs to refrain from planning any more large dam on the Mahanadi because dams kill rivers and fuel disasters such as floods, cyclones and sea/saline water ingress.  

We want a free flowing healthy Mahanadi!

We just wish good sense will prevail in the governments and these important aspects will be discussed in future dialogues.

Twitter Storm:

As informed to you this morning, coinciding with the CMs meeting today, we have uploaded 32 tweets with titleCMsSAVEMahanadi to our twitter handles @ranjanpanda and @MahanadiRiver. These tweets have been addressed to both Odisha and Chhattisgarh CMs as they start discussing the Mahanadi inter-state river water dispute today.
If you are on twitter, we request you to please follow both out twitter accounts as mentioned above and please like & retweet the above 32 tweets to the following people by tagging them:
@CMO_Odisha @Naveen_Odisha @drramansingh @umasribharti
If space permits, use either of the following hastags:
#MahanadiPeaceInitiative
Or
#MahanadiPeace
Thanks! A dying Mahanadi needs your support!!


Thanks and best regards,

Ranjan

For Mahanadi Peace Initiative


Skype: ranjan.climatecrusader

Tweet @ranjanpanda
Tweet @MahanadiRiver

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Ranjan Panda, popularly known as the ‘Water Man of Odisha’ has been championing the cause of water conservation and management for more than 25 Years now. He has been designated in 2013 as ‘Mahanadi River Waterkeeper’ by New York based global Waterkeeper Alliance for his constant endeavours towards conservation of river Mahanadi. He also convenes the Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO), the leading network of organisations and individuals working for more than two decades in the state of Odisha on water, environment and climate change.

Mahanadi River Waterkeeper organisation works to conserve Mahanadi River’s ecosystem so that all communities and other species dependent on it have access to clean water for today and forever in a sustainable manner. It is based at the Water Initiatives Odisha.Mahanadi River Waterkeeper is member of the global Waterkeeper Alliance based out of New York!

Mahanadi River Basin Peace Building Initiative” has been started on 21st July 2016 between ‘Mahanadi River Waterkeeper’  and ‘Nadi Ghati Morcha (Raipur)’ to initiate a citizen driven initiative to resolve Inter-State Water Conflict over Mahanadi.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Mahanadi Peace Initiative's Suggestion Note to Odisha Chief Minister for 17th Chief Ministerial Meeting: Ranjan Panda

Mahanadi Peace Initiative: Update on 14th September 2016

Dear Friends/Co-sailors,

In response to Odisha Chief Minister’s call for ideas that he could take up on the Chief Ministerial level meeting proposed on 17th of September, we at ‘Mahanadi Peace Initiative’ have emailed him a note with 28 points.  The following update has all the details.


Thanks Mr. Chief Minister for asking our Comments on the Mahanadi Dispute!

Ensure a Free Flowing Healthy Mahanadi to all the Basin Citizens (human and other species)demands ‘Mahanadi Peace Initiative’

·         We are thankful to you and the Chhattisgarh CM for having acceded to Mahanadi Peace Initiative’s appeal for a joint meeting.
·         Both the Chief Ministers have a greater role to play in order to resolve the Mahanadi dispute peacefully. We can’t wait for a Cauvery to happen to Mahanadi.
·         ‘Mahanadi Peace Initiative’, based on its discussions with about 2000 people across the state, submits its suggestions and urges upon both the CMs to treat Mahanadi as a Natural Ecological Resource and not as a Tradable Commodity!


Sambalpur, 14th September 2016 –  The ‘Mahanadi Peace Initiative’ that was initiated by Mahanadi RiverWaterkeeper, Odisha and Nadi Ghati Morcha, Chhattisgarh welcomes the Odisha Chief Minister’s invitation of comments/ideas from people of the state for the forthcoming Chief Ministerial level meeting scheduled for 17th of September

In fact, the very first demand of our Campaign the day it was started was to urge upon both the Chief Ministers to enter into a dialogue without encouraging political fights.  We are thankful that both the CMs have acceded to our request. The CMs must utilise this opportunity to start a co-ordinated drive to save the already water stressed Mother River of both the states.

From the day we started the ‘Mahanadi Peace Initiative’ on 21st July, we have held meetings and consultations at various places of the Basin and have consulted more than 2000 people already.  Based on these consultations and our 25 Year long experience of working on River and Water conservation, we submit the following suggestions to the Odisha Chief Minister for his dialogue with the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister on the 17th September.

Our Three Priority Suggestions:
1. Don’t treat Mahanadi as a Tradable Commodity;
2. Work on a Road Map to Restore, Recharge and Rejuvenate the River Basin through integrated ecological interventions; and
3. Finalize a Road Map to End Coal Mining and Coal Fired Power Plants in the Basin.

Both the CMs should -

1.      Admit that the Mahanadi River is no more a ‘Surplus’ river but a ‘Deficit’ one.
2.      Agree to make a team of multi-disciplinary experts to study the current condition of the River Basin, not just the water flow; and publish a Status Paper on cumulative ecological impacts of all the industrial, mining, power plants and other projects based on real current data.  Add to the analysis, future projections of water demand by various sectors under ‘stress scenarios’ to be created by normal increase in demands as well as due to climate change impacts.
3.      Make a ‘Water Use Priority List’ for basin immediately and allocate first priority to ecological flow (at least 50% of the total river flow); drinking water, sanitation and other requirement of all Basin Citizens including the wild life and domestic animals; irrigation coverage to all farmers of the river basin; and then all other requirements.
4.      Stop all ongoing projects including dams, barrages, power plants and mining in the basin untill the aboveStatus Report is prepared and real water availability/stress of the basin is assessed.
5.      Initiate the process of formulating a joint Task Force to prepare a Basin Restoration, Recharging and Rejuvenation Plan. Such a ‘Joint River Basin Management Plan’ should respect the right of the River to stay alive and flow freely.
6.      Include a comprehensive plan for restoration of Natural Forests in the basin adhering to the spirit of the Forests Rights Act (FRA) and Panchayati Raj Extension to Scheduled Areas Act (PESA).
7.      Take up extensive catchment protection progarmmes such as watershed management and other such initiatives for soil conservation, run-off water management and ground water recharging.
8.      Consider the River as an Ecological Identity and discuss management of the River in its varied characteristics including geomorphology, ecology, socio-cultural dimensions and traditional relationships of communities with the Rivers. 
9.      Don’t just limit the discussion to distribution of water between states but on all the above aspects with focus on ‘Right of the River to Live and Flow Freely’ and ‘Right of the Basin Citizens(humans and other species) to Equitable and Sustainable Water of the River.”
10.  Decide that no more large dams will be build on the Mahanadi, because large dams obstruct the maximum flow and gradually kill the river and its ecosystem. Large Dams and huge obstruction of water & sedimentation of the River cause ‘colonisation’ of water at the hands of a few by marginalising a large section of the society; increase the chance of disasters such as floods and cyclones. 
11.  Devise a mechanism to end all efforts to privatise the River and its stretches. Both states should immediately end any ‘Absolute Right’ that may have been given to industries/corporates to use specific stretches of the River. 
12.  Ensure ZERO theft of water (from the river flow, surfaces water sources of the basin and ground water) by industrial houses.
13.  Work jointly to tackle the drought situation in the River Basin and provide assured irrigation to all the farmers.
14.  Arrest desertification of the Mahanadi River Basin.
15.  Work towards promoting food and nutrition security in the River Basin with promotion of organic and agro-ecological models of farming and other support given to the farmers. 
16.  Small and marginal farmers of the basin are in accute distress owing to continuous droughts and climate change impacts. Prepare a Joint Climate Change Action Plan for Mahanadi to protect these farmers and other dependent communities on the Rivers and ensure their economic as well as general well being.
17.  Ensure protection, restoration and conservation of all surface water bodies of the basin.
18.  Evaluate violation of Riparian Rights and Environmental Laws by all the industrial and mining projects operational in the river basin; and stop all such violations by enforcing the existing laws and imposing stringent punishments on the violators. Most of such projects have openly been violating laws to pollute our Mother River.
19.  Ensure rights of the fisherfolks, boatmen/women, forest dwellers and indigenous communities on the water of the River Basin.
20.  Initiate a strong mechanism to stop pollution of the River from industrial houses, urban centres and all other sources.
21.  Prepare a Green and Sustainable Urbanisation Plan for the River Basin that reduces the water stress faced by Mahanadi due to blind, unplanned and unsustainable urbanisation.
22.  Enforce strict regulations of use and discharge of Fly Ash by Coal Fired Power Plants. Mahanadi is heavily polluted by carcinogenic fly ash and other wastes generated by these plants. 
23.  Restructure Pollution Control Boards and make them more dynamic and effective.  The Pollution Control Boards have miserably failed in abating pollution of the basin and punishing the culprits.
24.  Establish a stronger role of Gram Sabha in assessing and abating pollution in the River Basin as well as in management of the water in the basin.
25.  Chalk out a plan to phase out coal fired power plants from the Mahanadi river basin. Coal fired power plants have infact been the most water sucker industries in the basin and most of the current water shortage can be attributed to such plants. 
26.  Plan an Alternative Energy Policy for the River Basin that would not only reduce the water stress from the River but also ensure sustainability of energy production and reduce pollution of the basin.
27.  Formulate a special plan to protect all the unique ecological hotspots, sites, shrines and groves such as Debrigarh wild life sanctuary, Huma sacred grove, Satkosia gorge, Chilika and all other such ecosystems.
28.  Study and take learning from successful international water sharing agreements; and accordingly initiate a principle of inter-state water coordination mechanism on all inter-state rivers to avoid future conflicts.

“The ‘Mahanadi Peace Initiative’ recognises that Mahanadi Civilization is more important than state geographical boundaries and both the states’ well being and prosperity is dependent on a ‘Living and Healthy Mahanadi.’  It is thefore important for the Chief Ministers of both the states to plan development of the basin in a coherant and coordinated approach which is only possible through a peaceful dialogue process.

“The ‘Mahanadi Peace Initiative’ has already organised several village and city level meetings in both Odisha and Chhattisgarh and has got endorsement of about 2000 individuals and organisations from both the states and outside including some international organisations.  Suppot for the ‘Mahanadi Peace Initiative’ has come from eminent social activists, environmentalists, farmer leaders, experts, academicians and youth leaders from both the states and outside.” 

This is a unique neutral and non-political initiative and we seek cooperation of all citizens of the Mahanadi Basin and all people across the world who want to see Mahanadi a ‘Living and Healthy’ River. 

For further details please contact:

Thanking you,

For the Mahanadi Peace Initiative:

Ranjan Panda, Mahanadi River Waterkeeper, Odisha (Mob: +91-9437050103)

For further information over email, please contact:  ranjanpanda@gmail.comwaterinodisha@gmail.com

=============
Ranjan Panda, popularly known as the ‘Water Man of Odisha’ has been championing the cause of water conservation and management for more than 25 Years now. He has been designated in 2013 as ‘Mahanadi River Waterkeeper’ by New York based global Waterkeeper Alliance for his constant endeavours towards conservation of river Mahanadi. He also convenes the Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO), the leading network of organisations and individuals working for more than two decades in the state of Odisha on water, environment and climate change.

Mahanadi River Waterkeeper organisation works to conserve Mahanadi River’s ecosystem so that all communities and other species dependent on it have access to clean water for today and forever in a sustainable manner. It is based at the Water Initiatives Odisha.Mahanadi River Waterkeeper is member of the global Waterkeeper Alliance based out of New York!

Mahanadi River Basin Peace Building Initiative” has been started on 21st July 2016 between ‘Mahanadi River Waterkeeper’  and ‘Nadi Ghati Morcha (Raipur)’ to initiate a citizen driven initiative to resolve Inter-State Water Conflict over Mahanadi.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Flora & Fauna of Mahanadi Basin: Their Right to Survival - 2nd Sept Meeting of Mahanadi Peace Initiative - Ranjan Panda

2nd September: Campaign Meeting on "Flora and Fauna of Mahanadi Basin: Their Right to Survival" at Tikarpada, Satkosia Gorge, Angul.
Please join if you are around. Thanks!


Friday, August 26, 2016

Ask Dana Majhi not to worry: development will be delivered soon! - Ranjan Panda


(Pic: grabbed from a tv news)


This picture is now making millions of rounds in the media.  This is of Dana Majhi of Kalahandi district whose wife died and the hospital denied him a mortuary vehicle. He started walking down to his village carrying his wife himself and had crossed about 10 kms of the total 60 kms road that some media people discovered this, made a news and called up the district medical officials so that a vehicle can be arranged.  The entire country is angry on this incidence and rightly so.  This is a shame on our system but I am sure no one will be held responsible for this.  After we discover another such news, Dana Majhi's case will be forgotten.  After the Mahanadi issue popped up, we have forgotten the Nagada malnutrition deaths of children!

This brings me back to a few pertinent questions that I keep asking to myself and others.  1. What is the real development? Building roads and buildings or having a humane system that manages these? 2. How has the GDP growth number helped improve the service delivery system and more importantly the accountability of the system managers i.e. government? 3. Is it really 'development deficit' or the failure of 'development?' 

Don't be under any illusion that Dana Majhi's case is a singular one in the country.  This is just one of the reported cases.  There must be thousands of such cases happening in each state during the duration of my writing this post.  Our governments are busy in 'construction' as the 'image' of development.  We have all sorts of jargons like Smart Cities, Digital India, bla bla... but no teachers to teach our children in govt. schools, no doctors to treat the common people, no growth in quality public transport, no increase in provisioning clean drinking water and most importantly no accountability. 

Be it contamination of drinking water, failure of health administration in cases such as the one in point, pollution of water bodies by industries, killing of our forests and rivers by our government policies/actions, collapse of our education system so on and so forth, no one is accountable.  Each time a case gets reported and there is a media/public outrage, an inquiry committee is formed that either delays the report till the public memory fades or covers up the mistake of the govt.  The government that we see does not behave like one elected by the people and meant for their service but a servant of the powerful politicians, bureaucrats and their masters.

Our memory fades and we clap when another road is built for the rich's car and industrialist's goods truck to ply. 

We love roads, buildings, big shots and our ability to forget things so fast. 

We are positive people, we should not report all these negative news.  Praise the governments, the politicians and bureaucrats day in and day out and there are many benefits on the cards! Dana will get some more kilograms of rice, a few thousand rupees and a few artificial sympathizers.

Keep doing that my progressive friends! Keep calculating the GDP numbers.  Development is going to take birth in this nation some day for sure!!


-    - 26th August 2016

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Mahanadi Peace Initiative Update: Mahanadi Peace Jatha in Odisha from 13th to 15th September! Ranjan Panda

Mahanadi Peace Initiative Update: 24th August 2016

Mahanadi Peace Jatha To Be Organised in Both States

·         Odisha Jatha to be held from 13th to 15th September from Belpahad to Paradeep.
·         Chhattisgarh Jatha to be organised from Sihawa to Hirakud in November first week.
·         A public convention to be held at Sambalpur in November first week.
·         The Jathas will connect people to the peace building initiative.
·         Mahanadi’s health and identify problems will be discussed
·         People’s aspirations and ecological issues to be brought to forefront of dialogue between two states

Sambalpur, 24th August 2016 –  The ‘Mahanadi Peace Initiative’ that was initiated by Mahanadi RiverWaterkeeper, Odisha and Nadi Ghati Morcha, Chhattisgarh had in its Campaign Coordination cum Strategymeeting held at Sambalpur on 5th August, had decided that a “Mahanadi Peace Jatha” will be organised to connect people of both the states to the Mother River.

Today, a discussion was held at Sambalpur and it was decided to hold two Jathas, a coordination meeting and a public convention in both the states, informed Ranjan Panda and Gautam Bandyopadhyay, joint convenors of the Mahanadi Peace Initiative. 

“The Mahanadi Inter-State River Water Dispute needs amicable settlement and real priorities of the people of the basin needs to take the centre state of the debate.  These Jathas will meet people in important locations of the River and garner their support for a peace process,” said the organisers.

“The Odisha Jatha will take the following ruote: Belpahad – Jharsuguda – Sambalpur – Dhama – Sonepur – Boudh – Kantilo – Banki – Cuttack – Paradeep,” informed the organisers.  A team of people – both from Odisha and Chhattisgarh – will participate in this and public meetings will be organised in the above places plus other places on way.  The Odisha part of the Jatha will be organised with active collaboration of Water Initiatives Odisha, Odisha Swabhiman Mancha, and about 20 social organisations who have already endorsed the Mahanadi Peace Initiative.  Further details will be shared nearer to the Jatha.

The Chhattisgarh Jatha will be held in the first week of November from Sihawa to Hirakud and culminate in a public convention at Sambalpur where people’s aspirations gathered during the Jatha will be shared and memorandum to Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Central Governments will be sent. 

The Jathas will have the following basic objectives:

To connect people of the basin to the real challenges such as water reduction due to dams and barrages, growing conflicts, diversion of water from irrigation to industries, climate change impacts on the basin, loss of livelihoods of farmers and fisherfolks, etc.

To build awareness on decreasing Health of the River Basin due to pollutin from industrial, urban and other activities.

To garner people’s support to the “Mahanadi Peace Initiative” and, with their support, urge both the state governments to enter into a peace building dialogue without any further delay.

To urge upon both the governments to prepare a joint River Basin Management Plan and work towards recharging the river basin through proper ecological planning and enable people’s rights over the River.

To urge upon both the governmnets to prioritise drought proofing the basin, providing clean drinking water to the entire basin population, water security to farmers through complete irrigation coverage, provide sanitation facilities with water security to the entire basin population, revive and restore surface water bodies as well as ground water sources.

“The “Mahanadi Peace Initiative” recognises that Mahanadi Civilization is more important than state geographical boundaries and both the states’ well being and prosperity is dependent on a ‘Living and Healthy Mahanadi.’  It is thefore important for the people to connect with each other and ask their governments to plan development of the basin in a coherant and coordinated approach which is only possible through a peaceful dialogue process.”

“The ‘Mahanadi Peace Initiative’ has already organised several village and city level meetings in both Odisha and Chhattisgarh and has got endorsement of more than 300 individuals and organisations from both the states and outside including some international organisations.  For the upcoming Jathas and public conventions we have formed a 20 member Coordination Committee that includes leading social activists, environmentalists, farmer leaders, experts, academicians and youth leaders from both the states. 

This is a unique neutral and non-political initiative and we seek cooperation of all citizens of the Mahanadi Basin and all people across the world who want to see Mahanadi a ‘Living and Healthy’ River. 

The Jathas and other progarmmes of the “Mahanadi Peace Initiative” are being organised with voluntary contribution of common people.  We request all the concerned people to join hands in the endeavours and support us in whichever means they can.

Look forward to your active support.

Thanking you,

For the Mahanadi Peace Initiative:

Ranjan Panda, Mahanadi River Waterkeeper, Odisha (Mob: +91-9437050103)
Gautam Bandyodhyay, Nadi Ghati Morcha, Chhattisgarh (Mob: +91-9826171304)

For further information over email, please contact:  ranjanpanda@gmail.comwaterinodisha@gmail.com

=============
Ranjan Panda, popularly known as the ‘Water Man of Odisha’ has been championing the cause of water conservation and management for more than 25 Years now. He has been designated in 2013 as ‘Mahanadi River Waterkeeper’ by New York based global Waterkeeper Alliance for his constant endeavours towards conservation of river Mahanadi. He also convenes the Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO), the leading network of organisations and individuals working for more than two decades in the state of Odisha on water, environment and climate change.

Mahanadi River Waterkeeper organisation works to conserve Mahanadi River’s ecosystem so that all communities and other species dependent on it have access to clean water for today and forever in a sustainable manner. It is based at the Water Initiatives OdishaMahanadi River Waterkeeper is member of the global Waterkeeper Alliance based out of New York!

Mahanadi River Basin Peace Building Initiative” has been started on 21st July 2016 between ‘Mahanadi River Waterkeeper’  and ‘Nadi Ghati Morcha (Raipur)’ to initiate a citizen driven initiative to resolve Inter-State Water Conflict over Mahanadi.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Swachh Bharat Short Film Competition: prizes worth million of rupees!

Swachh Bharat Short Films Competition to encourage participative approach for Clean India
The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting is organizing a Short Films Competition on the theme “Swachh Bharat” that showcases inspiring stories and helps generate awareness among citizens about sanitation and its linkages with public health. The winning entries will be announced in a special felicitation programme to be held in New Delhi on October 2, 2016. National Film Development Corporation of India has invited entries for the Short Films Competition.  The last datefor submission of entries is September 10, 2016.
Awareness generation is an important objective of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan to bring about behavioral change in people regarding healthy sanitation practices. The competition aims to generate such awareness by involving people from different backgrounds, different regions and from different age groups.

About the Short Films Competition
·         The short films competition is open to all age groups with its central theme revolving around the Swachh Bharat Mission.
·         Short films with duration of not more than 3 minutes and shot in HD Format will be considered for the competition.
·         The film can be made in Hindi, English or any of the listed official languages of India.
·         The Best Film will be awarded a cash prize of Rupees 10 lakhs and a certificate. Three Second Best Films will be awarded Rupees 5 lakhs each and six Third Best Films will be awarded Rupees 2 lakhs each

To participate in the competition, interested applicants can log onto www.nfdcindia.com or write to sbsff@nfdcindia.com
Source: MoIB, GoI, 22 Aug 2016