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

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Farmers Interaction on Water Harvesting and Drought Proofing at Paikmal: Ranjan Panda

Friends: We shall be at Paikmal tomorrow interacting with farmers about drought proofing the perennially drought prone regions of Odisha...




Saturday, July 30, 2016

Mahanadi river facing a deficit water yield of more than 10%, the largest among basins in India: Ranjan Panda


Mahanadi’s water yield has decreased by a huge 10% in the recent decades

·         This is the highest among major surplus basins in India, according to an IIT Study!
·         This puts serious question mark on the plan of Interlinking of Rivers!!
·         Odisha and Chhattisgarh joint dialogue must recognize climate change impacts!!!

Sambalpur, 30th July 2016 – We have always been warning that Mahanadi is no more a water surplus basin, as being marketed by governments, but a deficit basin.  A study carried out by a team of researchers from IIT Madras and IIT Bombay has now come up with a scientific analysis and found out that Mahanadi’s water yield has decreased by a huge 10% in recent years owing to significant decrease in rainfall over the basin. 

The study titled, “Indian Summer Monsoon Rainfall: Implications of Contrasting Trends in the Spatial Variability of Means and Extremes” by Prof. Subimal Ghosh of IIT Bombay and team tells us that the decrease in yield in Mahanadi is highest in the country along with another river.  The study has found out that the water yields of major surplus basins, such as Mahanadi, Godavari and West Flow River–I, have exhibited decreases in recent periods. The water yields show decreases of more than10% for the Mahanadi and West Flow River–I. For other surplus basins, the changes are within 10%.

This is mainly because of significant decreases in rainfall. Brahmani has also faced significant decrease in rainfall.

The study findings say that the decrease in the monsoon rainfall in the surplus river basins, which are majorly present in the core Indian monsoon zone, may be due to the drying of rainfall in these regions during recent decadesThe monsoon over Indian region is typically associated with a strengthened cyclonic circulation, with the moisture flux converging over this region. However, when the changes in mean vertically integrated moisture flux (VIMF) and wind patterns are analyzed an anticyclonic circulation leading to divergence in VIMF was found, especially in the central part of India, along with convergence in the Gangetic plains. Hence, this could be the reason for which the major surplus basins have a decreasing rainfall trend.

This study also confirms our apprehensions about the Interlinking of Rivers (ILR) plans of the government of India. We have been warning the government about Mahanadi being a deficit basin already and is going to further starved of water owing to climate change. The ILR plan for Mahanadi is not suitable at all.

The IIT study says, “Our analysis also raises concerns about the suitability of major nation-wide projects related to river water-basin interlinking, in which the sustainability of water surplus conditions in river basins in response to a changing climate is not ascertained. Therefore, the water demand in a surplus basin first needs to be assessed and met under decreasing water availability scenarios before transferring water to the deficit basins. Hence, we argue that planning for inter-basin water transfer necessitates an immediate reassessment with a systematic approach.

This study findings are significant and have come at the right time when we are trying to pursue both Odisha and Chhattisgarh to recognise that Mahanadi is a water deficit basin and hence planning all development projects need to consider this.

We have initiated a Mahanadi River Basin Peace Initiative and are demanding both the state governments to initiate a dialogue for integrated planning and management of Mahanadi basin in which the ecological carrying capacity of the river needs to be assessed under such climate change induced scenarios in which the water availability of the basin would be further decreasing. Hope both the governments would be seriously considering this.

For further information, please contact:
 
Ranjan Panda

Mahanadi River Waterkeeper
Cell: +91-9437050103

Tweet @MahanadiRiver
Tweet @ranjanpanda


=============
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. We have already got endorsements from many individuals and organisations from across the country and world for this Peace Initiative. Looking for more support. Please join hands!!

Mahanadi needs peace, not conflicts: Ranjan Panda's latest article in Big Wire!

Mahanadi needs peace, 

not conflict






India’s sixth largest river Mahanadi is now witness to a bitter political fight between its two major riparian states.
A river that is already fighting for its life because of excessive exploitation of the water by industrialization and negative impacts of climate change can hardly afford this fight.
But the states of Odisha and Chhattisgarh are fighting and it seems this will lead to a war. This war is not going to do any good for the cause it is being fought.
The current episode of the fight that started about a month back following the leaking of an internal letter from the Odisha government’s water resource department has already engulfed the entire state in a big movement against neighbouring Chhattisgarh.
Odisha’s ruling party Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has taken the lead in it and many others, including civil society and media, have joined the force.
Odisha says the upstream state is intercepting Mahanadi waters to an extent that will dry up the river and make the Hirakud Dam dysfunctional.
Chhattisgarh discards this allegation and claims it has all rights to utilise each drop of water of Mahanadi within its geographical territory.
Odisha is projecting itself as a victim in this, as all lower riparian states do in such cases.
The debate has travelled from streets to Parliament and the chief ministers of both the states have already flagged off war signals.
Responding to Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh’s claim over Mahanadi, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik has said that he will fight for Mahanadi water till his last breath.
In this political slugfest what subsides is the real debate about the health and well-being of the river herself, and the millions of people and other species dependent on her.
More than a half of people in each of the states depend on Mahanadi for all their needs including drinking water, irrigation, other livelihood needs and above all for maintenance of the ecological balance of this region.
The genesis of the conflict
Ever since the Hirakud Dam was constructed in 1957, both the states (Chhattisgarh was then part of Madhya Pradesh) have been engaged in battles of discontent and differences.
There was no bipartite agreement between the two states with regard to this largest earthen multi-purpose dam project of Asia.
In various meetings organised between the two states, Madhya Pradesh kept raising the issue of utilising Hirakud dam’s catchment areas to provide ensured water supply for the rice bowl of eastern India that falls in this region.
In fact, about 87% of the dam’s catchment lies in Chhattisgarh and 88% of water at the dam site is contributed by that state.
The Chhattisgarh government has been pursuing their Mahanadi irrigation plan to utilise each drop of water and augment irrigation up to 50% in the catchment.
They have also been pushing for 5% power from the Hirakud reservoir. These issues have always remained the bone of contention between both the states but not much of a coordinated effort was ever tried out.
In 1983, the CMs of both states reached into an agreement to establish a joint control board to review the progress from time to time of survey, investigation, planning, execution and operation of joint inter-state irrigation and or power project(s) and to discuss and resolve any issues.
However, this board was never established and the states continued to manage Mahanadi in their own ways and the coordination meetings were reduced only to discussions of flood control operations of Hirakud reservoir during monsoon.
Coal curse
Mahanadi, in official terminology of both the states, has been a water surplus basin and there has virtually been a competition between them to invite investments marketing the river water as a cheaply available natural resource.
Fortunately or unfortunately, the basin is bestowed with a huge coal reserve. Following economic liberalisation, the rush for establishing coal -fired power plants has put the river to severe stress.
Studies as early as 2010 pointed out that out of the 118 proposed projects being pursued by Chhattishgarh, for which data was available, 33 plan to draw water from the Mahanadi.
The water requirement of projects drawing water from the river stands at 1,500 mcm per year. If the water requirement of projects drawing from its tributaries – Lilagarh, Hasdeo and Seonath – is added, the withdrawal jumps to 2,700 mcm, adding to the withdrawal of around 1000 mcm by existing industries.
Thermal power plants, known to guzzle water, would be drawing close to 1,500 mcm every year. The estimate is based on data of just a fragment of the projects planned.
The dependable water availability in the Mahanadi (measured at Kasdol upstream of Raipur) over the last 10 years is an average 1,528 mcm annually, according to state water resource department. With industry set to withdraw 3,700 mcm, water budgeting in the state will clearly be highly deficit.
In fact, government spokespersons including ministers of Chhattisgarh government have openly admitted that most of the dams and barrages being built upstream are meant for coal fired power plants and other industries.
Downstream, Odisha also has been committing a major chunk of Mahanadi water to such industries.
River set to die,needs urgent attention
The real issue, therefore, is the way we are treating the river.
Chhattisgarh may have the right to obstruct the flow it thinks is its due share, however, without a cumulative impact assessment of the entire river basin it would be virtually impossible to tell how much of an obstruction would not harm the Hirakud Dam and the flow downstream.
All data that both the governments are now putting up are fragmented and outdated.
While the current spurt in political fight has brought in the right attention and awareness of both the public and policy makers, the solution is in a dialogue.
And such a dialogue is only possible by rebuilding the trust, which means transparency in information sharing and cordial approach in coordination.
The governments should trust each other as well as the people and form a coordination mechanism that takes on board not only the government officials and politicians but also others who are able to help resolve this issue amicably.
ranjan
Ranjan Panda is an Indian environmentalist, water and climate change expert.
Source: http://bigwire.in/2016/07/29/mahanadi-needs-peace-not-conflict/

Latest Update from Mahanadi Peace Initiative: Ranjan Panda on 30th July 2016

Dear Friends/Co-sailors,

Greetings from Mahanadi River Waterkeeper!

The 'Mahanadi River Basin Peace Initiative' that we started on 21st of this month, in order to advocate for peace and a coordinated dialogue between Odisha and Chhattisgarh over the health of the river, has been getting exciting response from across the nation as well as abroad.  

We thank you all who have already endorsed this unique initiative and request all who have not yet endorsed, to kindly do so asap by sending in an one liner.  

This email is to quickly update you about some of the developments so far.

1. Please read my article titled 'Mahanadi needs peace, not conflicts' published in the Big Wire at http://bigwire.in/2016/07/29/mahanadi-needs-peace-not-conflict/

2. As we progress towards the campaign strategy meeting scheduled for 5th August at Sambalpur, we have already organised two public/coordinatoin meetings at Bargarh and Sonepur (for two riparian districts including Boudh). In both the places we have got encouraging response from people and new ideas have emerged.  We shall be discussing all the ideas and finalize the campaign strategy on 5th.

3. We are planning more district level meetings as well.

4. We are already discussing with MPs and MLAs of various political parties about the initiative and have got positive responses so far.  

5. The media have been generously supporting us and the issue is getting good coverage so far. 

6. A tripartite meeting was organised between the two riparian states and central government on 29th July and a beginning has already been made by the governments.  We are hopeful our timely advocacy can bring together the states further closer for a healthy dialogue. 

This much for now.  We shall keep you updated as the campaign progresses.

Request you also to send in ideas for the campaign that we can discuss on the 5th.

And again, please send in your endorsements if you have not done so far!!!

Look forward to your continued support and cooperation.

Thanks and regards,

Ranjan


--
Ranjan K Panda

Mahanadi River Waterkeeper

Tweet @MahanadiRiver
Tweet @ranjanpanda
=============
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. We have already got endorsements from many individuals and organisations from across the country and world for this Peace Initiative. Looking for more support. Please join hands!!

Mahanadi Peace Initiative Meet held at Sonepur on 28th July 2016: Ranjan Panda

Volunteers from two riparian districts: Sonepur and Boudh participated in this and ideas for the campaign were discussed.  All these will be taken up on 5th August when we sit for the joint coordination meeting at Sambalpur.