Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Open Letter to CM of Odisha: Power Policy is good initiative: count on the people of the State!

WIO's Open Letter to The Chief Minister of Odisha on Proposed Power Policy for the State

Dear Chief Minister Sir,

Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO) is a state level coalition of civil society organisations, farmers, academia, media and other concerned, which has been working on water, environment and climate change issues in the state for more than two decades now. 

We have just learnt from media reports that the Government of Odisha is planning to formulate a comprehensive policy for coal-fired thermal power plants and captive power plants. Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO) welcomes such a move as this is very timely.

The policy, as media reports, focuses more on state's share of free power from the plants. The real issue is however far more serious. Power plant's impacts on water and environment should form the basis of a new power policy.

We at WIO believe that the state's ecology will not be able to sustain the huge power the state government wants to generate. Especially because power plants use enormous amount of water, pollute sources and lead to air pollution. These impact the local communities and their livelihoods.

The Rivers and other water sources of the state are already stressed. Further, we don’t have any concrete information on the number of plants and the total generation capacity of the state.

Various government data have different estimates. Based on the ‘Draft Climate Change Action Plan’, we believe that the state is planning to generate about 58000 MW of power, mostly from coal-fired plants. For this, as a very rough and preliminary analysis by WIO finds out, the state has to make provision for 2297 million cubic meter of water per year at the minimum. This is enough to meet the domestic water requirement (calculated at the lowest of requirements) of close to 210 million people! There are other grave environmental dangers of coal-fired power plants including the problem of fly ash disposal and radiation.

We at WIO therefore urge upon the state government to immediately release a ‘detailed status report’ on the existing and proposed coal-fired power plants including IPPs, CPPs and UMPPs detailing their current technology and generation status and the water used and polluted by them.

We also demand that ecological concerns and not power sharing arrangements should be the prime factor that should govern this policy which must look into the carrying capacity of the ecology of the state and have a vision for power generation. There must be a restriction on the number of power plants and the amount of power generated, and a solid monitoring at place for punishing the polluters.  In fact, we urge upon your good office to scrap all the new MoUs that have been signed for new power plants.  Rather, demand all the required power from the existing IPPs and CPPs.  

We also urge upon you to draw a limit of power consumption for industrial and urban establishments and establish an equitable and 'right' oriented power distribution system in the state which ensures equal right over the power generated to all the people of the state including the rural population and farmers.  

The government must chalk out a vision for power sector that takes into account the present and future of the state's demand and ecological concerns. It must not go for excessive generation of power simply because there is investment and coal available. This will spell disaster for the state.

We have observed that important policy matters in the state are not being taken to the common people for proper and thorough discussion, the recent examples being "Draft Climate Change Action Plan" and "IWRM Plan of River Baitarani". The precedence must be broken now for making any policy people-oriented and beneficial for the state and its ecology. We therefore urge upon the state government to draft the thermal power plant policy and discuss it with the people of the state giving them ample time and scope for participation.

We look forward to your urgent attention on the matter Sir.

Thanking you,

Ranjan Panda
Convenor, WIO

Date: 24th April 2012
Place: Sambalpur

Water Initiatives Odisha: Fighting water woes, combating climate change... more than two decades now!


You can also mail me at: ranjan.waterman@facebook.com

Skype: ranjan.climatecrusader

Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO) is a state level coalition of civil society organisations, farmers, academia, media and other concerned, which has been working on water, environment and climate change issues in the state for more than two decades now.

Thought for 25th April 2012

Confining Peace to a Style Statement is inviting disaster. Make it a Way of Life, the real style...

Ranjan Panda

Monday, April 23, 2012

Thought for 24th April 2012

For JOY & ENLIGHTENMENT to be the destination, PEACE is the only way of life and TRUTHFULNESS the order of it...

Ranjan Panda

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Thought for Earth Day 2012

You have had it enough.  Now its time to pay back.

Choose your way, but pay back to the Mother Earth.

There is no other way to survive...

Happy Earth Day 2012 !

Ranjan Panda

Land acquisition fraud continues in Odisha.

Dear Friends/Co-sailors,

Please find below a news which proves how private land is being acquired in this state, illegally, in the name of 'public purpose' for 'private companies'.  The ruling of the Odisha High Court, that exposes this, is very important and we are sure this would have wide scale implication as such faulty land acquisition is a matter of common happening in the state. 

We hope the Govt. of Odisha will learn a lesson from this and provide justice to all the people in the state whose lands have been acquired under similar faulty procedures.

Thanks and regards,


Odisha to withdraw notification from acquisition of 438 acres of private land in Posco site

The state government has initiated the process of withdrawal of notifications for acquisition of 438 acres of private land in seven villages in the project site near Paradip. The recent verdict of Odisha High Court would compel the state government to withdraw the notification from the acquisition of 438 acres of private land of proposed Posco steel plant.

Sources said that state government had issued the impugned notifications under section 4 and 6 of the Land Acquisition Act 1894 to acquire the lands in favour of the Posco steel plant. The acquisition process had been started by IDCO (Orissa Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation), a statuary corporation to acquire land in favour of Posco, a company registered under the Companies Act 1956.

The corporation made requisition to the district collector, Jagatsinghpur to acquire the land for Posco steel plant in 2005. Accordingly, section 4 notifications were issued for the public purpose in favour of the Posco Company to set up its steel plant in the acquired land. Later administration issued notifications under section 6 (1) of LA Act in 7th Janauary’2008 for acquisition of land for public purposes for establishment of plant. The above notifications show that the land is being acquired for a public purpose and not for a private company.

Similarly, administration has been passed notification under section 6 of LA Act to give awards and payment of compensation to the land losers of these seven villages of three panchyats, Dhinkia, Nuagaon and Gadkujanga.  As per this process, one revenue officer has expressed that compensation of Rs 1.43 cores has been disbursed for acquisition of eight acres of private land in proposed Posco area at the rate of Rs 17 lakh per acre.

Challenging it as illegal process of land acquisition, six land losers led by Nisakar Khatua of Gobindpur village having lands in Dhinkia, Gobindpur, Bhuiyanpal,Polanga, Bayanalkanda, Noliashai, and Nuagaon had filed writ petition against principal secretary, department of revenue and disaster management, and four others in Odisha High Court for praying to stop illegal and forcibly land acquisition and to maintain status co to check the illegal activities.
Mr. V. Gopala Gowda, Chief Justice of Odisha High Court in his recent verdict has stated that the acquisition of land in the name of Posco company though corporation is not permissible in law as the acquisition of land is in favour of private company. Exercising the power by the state government waiving the statuary right under section 5 (A) of LA Act is bad in law and issue of notifications for land acquisition without there being an order of the state government is a gross and violation of Fundamental and Statuary Rights guaranteed to land owners under articles 14, 19 and 21 Constitutional Right.
It is also stated that corporation is not competent to acquire the lands exclusively for any particular company and could only under certain circumstances , acquire land for an ‘ industrial estate’ or an ‘ industrial area’ as defined Orissa Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation Act 1980.

High Court has also observed that the impugned notifications under section 6 were published beyond one year from the date of publication of notification under section 4 (1) in respect of the land covering these villages. Similarly, section 9 was issued and served upon the land owners before passing awards by determining the market value of their acquired land and that awards have been passed beyond the period of two years.

High Court has realized that there is large number irregularities in land acquisition for private company and violation of fundamental rights of land owners so High Court directed that status co recently in respect of the private lands in these villages to be maintained till disposal of this writ petition.

Additional district magistrate, Paradip Mr. Surjeet Das has expressed ‘administration is waiting the directive of the state government to de-notify on all 438 acres of private lands for proposed Posco plant. As per section 48 of LA Act, government has liberty to withdraw from the acquisition of these lands of which possession has not been taken’- he added.

Report from Amarnath Parida: Orissa Diary, Saturday April 21, 2012
Source: http://orissadiary.com/CurrentNews.asp?id=33358

Ranjan K Panda

Water Initiatives Odisha: Fighting water woes, combating climate change... more than two decades now!

Mobile:             +919437050103      
You can also mail me at: ranjan.waterman@facebook.com

Skype: ranjan.climatecrusader

Please join our group 'Save Rivers Save Civilizations' at http://www.facebook.com/groups/220598744649462

Water talks to me, I speak for Water...
Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO) is a state level coalition of civil society organisations, farmers, academia, media and other concerned, which has been working on water, environment and climate change issues in the state for more than two decades now.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Farce called 'EIA Public Hearing' exposed yet again!

Dear Friends/Co-sailors,

Greetings from Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO) !

In yet another significant ruling, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has today (20th April 2012) exposed the farce called EIA public hearings.  

The NGT has set aside the Environmental Clearance granted to the 4 MTPA Coal Mining Project of Jindal Steel and Power Ltd. (JSPL) and 4 MTPA Coal Washery at Gare IV/6 at Raigarh District, Chhatisgarh.  The major ground of this decision is the "faulty Public Hearing".  The judgment delivered by Justice C.V Ramulu and Prof Dr R. Nagandran held that the entire Public Hearing was a ‘farce’ and makes a ‘mockery’ of the public hearing process’. The Ministry of Environment and Forest in an illegal manner decided that the Public hearing was complete and granted the clearance. The Appeal against the Environmental Clearance was filed by Adivasi Kisan Mazdoor Kisan Ekta Sanghatan  through Harihar Patel and and Jan Chetna through Ramesh Aggarwal.   

Here below, we paste some important excerpts from the Judgment for your kind reference.  In our state, as has been pointed out by many concerned citizens and organisations time and again, most of the EIA public hearings are farcical and are stage managed shows to favour the companies.  This is high time the MoEF learns a lesson from this and reviews all the public hearings and cancel the ones which have been farcical. 

Excerpts from the NGT Judgement dated 20th April 2012:

"......... In the case on hand, after viewing the CD of the public hearing conducted on 5.1.2008, we are surprised to note to our dismay that the same was a “farce”It was a mockery of the public hearing and the procedure required to be followed thereof. All the norms required in conducting a smooth and fair procedure was given a go by.
For conducting Public Hearing, a big pedal was erected, and a dais was created, and in front of the dais some officers were made to sit, for recording the statements made by the participants. The area covering the dais and the place where the officers were sitting was safely cordoned and in front of them about 200 plastic chairs were arranged for the public. Even before the public hearing could start, the affected people raised slogans to stop the public hearing. However, on the intervention of the Additional District Magistrate a few persons came forward and gave their statements saying that no Gram Sabha was conducted and the Gram Panchayats have issued “No Objection Certificates” and such certificates are invalid and cannot be relied upon to say that the people in the village have no objection for acquiring their lands for establishing the project. It is also pointed out that none of the Sarpanches of the affected villages or other public representatives of the local bodies are present in the public hearing. Thereafter, the women from the affected villages who opposed the establishment of the project came in a queue one after the other and simply said that they oppose the project since their lands are being affected and their livelihood is taken away. The names of the persons and other details such as name of the father/husband, village and the extent of land and survey number were not recorded. The mike was not given to them and many of them were directly exposed to the video.

In the meanwhile, it appears the persons raising slogans against each other also pelted stones and that created some commotion which resulted in the intervention of the police and use of force. The participants however, broke all the plastic chairs and left the place. The officers were all sitting quietly even after the people left the place after the police used force. Some media persons and the local people objected for continuing the proceedings after the people left the place. In fact, there was no announcement that the proceedings would be resumed after some time. However, the Additional District Magistrate resumed and continued the proceedings in the presence of few persons. This time only the supporters of the project were paraded one after the other only to say one word “I Support”. The persons who supported the project all appeared to have been brought and prompted by the proponent. It was a mockery of the entire process of public hearing. At the end, the Additional District Magistrate, declared that the public hearing was complete and there was no necessity for the project proponent to answer anything since there was nothing much has been spoken by the persons opposing the project. Further, no summary of the public hearing was prepared in the local language nor it was made known to the public. The ADM abruptly declared that the proceedings are concluded. The way in which the proceedings are conducted is nauseating and no reasonable person would accept that it was conducted fairly and much less properly.

This is not a case where there are a few ignorable procedural lapses in conducing the public hearing.  This is a case of a mockery of public hearing, which is one of the essential parts of the decision making process, in the grant of Environmental Clearance.  this is a classic example of violation of the rules and the principles of natural justice to its brim.  Therefore we consider it appropriate to declare that the public hearing conducted in this case is nullity in the eye of law and therefore is invalid".....

Thanks and regards,


Ranjan K Panda
Water Initiatives Odisha: Fighting water woes, combating climate change... more than two decades now!

Mobile:             +919437050103      
You can also mail me at: ranjan.waterman@facebook.com

Skype: ranjan.climatecrusader

Please join our group 'Save Rivers Save Civilizations' at http://www.facebook.com/groups/220598744649462

Water talks to me, I speak for Water...

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Thought for 8th April 2012

Natural order of a relationship starts with trust rather than test…

Good Morning & have a Great Sunday!

Ranjan Panda

Friday, April 6, 2012

Thought for 7th April 2012

Diving into alien water is more comfortable than foraying into a strange society.  Water shows its true colours, humans hide…

Good Morning & a Great Weekend freinds!

Ranjan Panda

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Thought for 6th April 2012

Innumerable complex processes, taking a long time, bring you to existence.  You want to live still longer.  But you want to gallop the Earth tout de suite.  You are the Man(un)kind…

Good Morning and Good Friday!!
Ranjan Panda

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Thought for 5th April 2012

Respecting others is not merely a matter of manner but that of an attitude.  Its a reflection of your character...

Ranjan Panda

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Thought for 4th April 2012

Perfectionism is essentially a mind game.  Your search for perfection ends when your mind wants you to...

Ranjan Panda

Monday, April 2, 2012

Public Statement on SC order on Inter Linking of Rivers

Public Statement on Supreme Court order on Inter Linking of Rivers

Dear Sir/Madam,

Greetings from Water Initiatives Odisha!

A number of citizens have made a public statement, expressing serious concern about the Supreme Court’s Order of Feb 27, 2012 on the Interlinking of Rivers Project. The statementendorsed by more than 60 persons has respectfully urged the Supreme Court to put this order on hold and reconsider the matter.

The statement first states the concerns relating to the propriety of the apex court making this specific order, and then proceeds to state the concerns relating to the Project itself. The full statement which has also been endorsed by WIO is pasted below.

Thanks and regards,

29 March 2012


We, the signatories to this statement, wish to record our utmost concern at the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s judgment of 27 February 2012 on the Inter-Linking of Rivers Project (ILR), on the following grounds:
(1) The judgment gives categorical directions to the Executive Government on a matter which is clearly in the executive domain, namely the implementation of a particular project.
(2) It gives the direction to implement the ‘project’, i.e., the grand design as a whole, at a time when none of the thirty projects that constitute that grand design has gone through the processes of examination, evaluation and approval and received final sanction. In fact, even the earlier stage of project formulation has not been completed in most cases; only three of the thirty projects have reached the Detailed Project Stage, and even these are not final.  
(3) By declaring the project to be in the national interest it not only anticipates the result of the examination that is yet to take place, but also makes it extremely difficult for the various governmental agencies and Ministries to undertake a rigorous and objective examination.
(4) Its reference to “the unanimous view of all experts” that the project is “in the national interest” is patently untrue, because there is a substantial body of expert opinion that is highly critical of the project. Such a serious error would not have occurred if there had been consultations with scholars of various disciplines who have given thought to the matter.
(5) It fails to take note of, or treats lightly, the strong dissent on the part of several State Governments.
(6) The following is a succinct statement of the case against the project:
 (i) Instead of starting from the identification of the needs of water-scarce areas and finding area-specific answers, the project starts by looking at a map of India, decides a priori that the rivers of India can and should be linked, and then proceeds to consider the modalities of doing so. This is a reckless and major redesigning of the geography of the country.
(ii) The related ideas of a ‘national water grid’ or the ‘networking of rivers’ give evidence of profoundly wrong thinking about rivers. Rivers are not pipelines.
(iii) The grand design consisting of 30 projects involving upwards of 80 dams is bound to have major environmental/ecological consequences, which might even be disastrous in some cases. Each dam will also mean the displacement of people to varying extents, and may cause injustice and hardship.
(iv) The Project is at variance with the growing recognition that it is necessary to move away from the long-standing engineering tradition of a supply-side response to a projected or imagined demand, and towards restraining the growth of competitive unsustainable demand for water in all uses.
(v) Assuming that some augmentation of supply is necessary, the project fails to consider alternative possibilities, of which there are several very good examples.
(vi) The idea of transferring flood waters to arid or drought-prone areas is flawed because (a) there will be hardly any flood-moderation; and (b) this project will be of no use at all to the drylands and uplands of the country.
 (vii) The idea of transferring water from surplus to deficit basins is equally flawed because the very notions of ‘surplus’ and ‘deficit’ are highly problematic. The idea of a ‘surplus’ river ignores the multiple purposes that it serves as it flows and joins the sea, and that of a ‘deficit’ river is based on ‘demands’ on its waters derived from wasteful uses of water.
(viii) Careful, economical, conflict-free and sustainable intra-basin management should come first, and bringing water from elsewhere should be the last recourse.
 (ix) The project holds the potential of generating new conflicts between basins.
(x) There are international dimensions to this project. Both Nepal and Bangladesh have expressed serious apprehensions that need to be taken into account.
Having regard to the points made above, we, the undersigned, would earnestly and respectfully urge the Hon’ble Supreme Court to put the judgment on hold and undertake a careful reconsideration of the entire matter. We would also respectfully suggest a study of the available literature on the subject, and consultations with several distinguished critics of the project.

Some of the signatories to this Statement include: Ramaswami R Iyer, Prashant Bhusan, Himanshu Thakkar, Manoj Mishra, A. Latha, Indira Khurana, Dinesh Kumar Mishra, Vandana Shiva, Ranjan Panda...

Ranjan K Panda


Water Initiatives Odisha: Fighting water woes, combating climate change... more than two decades now!

BASERA, R-3/A-4, J. M. Colony, Budharaja, Sambalpur 768 004

Mobile:             +919437050103      
Email: ranjanpanda@gmail.comranjanpanda@yahoo.com
You can also mail me at: ranjan.waterman@facebook.com

Skype: ranjan.climatecrusader

Please join our group 'Save Rivers Save Civilizations' at http://www.facebook.com/groups/220598744649462

Water talks to me, I speak for Water...
Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO) is a state level coalition of civil society organisations, farmers, academia, media and other concerned, which has been working on water, environment and climate change issues in the state for more than two decades now.

Concerns over India rivers order

Concerns over India rivers order
By Navin Singh KhadkaEnvironment reporter, BBC News

30 March 2012 Last updated at 16:44 GMT

A supreme court order in India asking the government to link more than 30 rivers and divert waters to parched areas has sparked concerns in neighbouring countries.
Bangladesh says it would be hardest hit because it is a downstream country to two major rivers that flow from India.
New Delhi is yet to respond to the neighbouring countries' reactions.
The multi-billion-dollar project was announced by the Indian government in 2002 but had since remained on paper.
Experts in Nepal say the country's unstable political situation could open the door for India to build dams and reservoirs in Nepalese territory for the inter-linking project - known as the ILR.
Hydrologists say as an upstream country, Nepal has ideal locations for the infrastructure required to make the mammoth Indian project happen.
Bhutan too has similar locations and some of its rivers are tributaries to the Bramhaputra, a major river system in the region included in India's river-linking project.
Long-running disputes
The project's basic idea is to take water from areas where authorities believe it is abundant and divert it to areas where there is less available for irrigation, power and human consumption.
Official Indian documents have stated that the country - with its population of 1.2 billion - is increasingly water-stressed.
But when the government tried to present the ILR as a possible solution, it became quite controversial as critics argued it would have huge environmental consequences.
They also said it was unfeasible on technical grounds and that not all the states through which the rivers flow might allow waters to be diverted.
Some Indian states already have long-running water sharing disputes.

Delivering the court's order earlier this month, the judges said the project had long been delayed, resulting in an increase in cost.
Some 10 years ago, the super-ambitious scheme was billed at $120bn and was estimated that it would take 16 years to complete.
The court has also appointed a committee to plan and implement the project in a "time-bound manner".
Even before any of that began, Bangladesh was already quite critical of the idea.
"We can never agree to it," Ramesh Chandra Sen, Bangladeshi water resources minister told the BBC.
"Our agriculture, economy and our lives depend on these rivers, and we cannot imagine their waters being diverted."
Downstream impacts

The Ganges and the Bramhaputra, Asia's major river systems that flow down to Bangladesh, are among the rivers India has planned to divert to its western and southern parts.
Ainun Nishat, a Bangladeshi water resource expert, was even more critical.
"India assumes that these rivers stop at its borders and that there will be no downstream impacts to Bangladesh if it did anything to those resources," he said.
"They (India) have always thought that the Bramhaputra has a surplus water but they don't seem to remember that there is a sovereign country called Bangladesh downstream which has a need for water."
Minister Sen said there had been no official communication with his government on the project from the Indian side.
Nepal's Energy Minister Posta Bahadur Bogati too said he had not received any official information.
Senior Nepali water expert Santa Bahadur Pun said there were concerns that politicians might not be able to secure a good deal for allowing India to build dams and reservoirs in Nepalese territory.
"That is because we hear our leaders talking only about the stereotype hydropower development whereas they should be focusing on making India pay for the downstream benefits it would be getting from its river-linking infrastructures in Nepal."
Such concerns also stem from the fact that some think Nepalese politicians are too preoccupied with the prolonged peace process that India mediated after a 10-year Maoist insurgency.
Bhutan says it has not been apprised of the project idea.
"While we recognise rivers as a trans-boundary issue, there has been no direct dialogue as far as building structures in Bhutan for the project (of India) is concerned," Bhutanese Minister for Agriculture and Forests Pema Gyamtsho told the BBC.
'Conceptual stage'

Media reports and academic papers apart, little has come out officially about the inter-river linking project.
In 2006, the Indian water resources minister at the time gave a brief response in the parliament when asked if there would be a white paper on the project.
"The ILR project is still at a conceptual stage only and all the far-reaching effects of the link projects can be analysed at the stage of preparation of detailed projects.
"As such, there is no need to release a white paper on the ILR at this stage."
Indian water resources ministry officials made no comment to the BBC's query how India took its neighbours' reactions to the recent supreme court's order to implement the river linking project.
Many of India's past water treaties and agreements with neighbouring countries Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan have been mired in disputes.
And now Delhi has had to worry about China's plans to divert its southern rivers to the north, analysts say.
The main concern has been proposed Chinese hydro-electric plants on Tibet's Yarlung-Tsampo river that becomes the Bramhaputra in India, although Beijing has said it does not intend to divert its waters.
A number of studies have shown South Asia as one of the flashpoints over water resources in the future, particularly in the wake of climate change and a burgeoning population.
A recent assessment by the US intelligence agencies has said beyond 2022, South Asia will be one of the regions in the world where "water would be used as a weapon of war or a tool of terrorism".
Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17555918