Monday, October 29, 2012

Manoj Kandher's journey from Dilli to Palli proved fatal

Just heard that a friend Manoj Kumar Kandher died of snake bite.  We are really very much saddened by this news and we pray God that his soul rests in peace.

With this however I would like to raise a critical question on the health system of the nation.  Heard that Manoj, who worked in foundation at Delhi that works on Health issues,  had visited his village in Bargarh district during puja vacations.  He went to the canal to bathe with his child where a snake bit him.  As soon as he realized this, he dropped his child at home and drove his bike to the nearby hospital at Thuapali only to realize there is no help he could get from there.  He was referred to V.S.S. Medical College & Hospital at Burla.  Since its very far he preferred to go to another nearby hospital at Remunda but fell senseless on the way.  Locals took him to a private nursing home where he got some first aid treatment and then referred to Burla again.  Burla being still far, they took him to Bargarh district head quarters hospital.  He had then fallen very critical and succumbed to the snake bite.

This raises serious questions on our health system.  It is widely known in the state that our health systems are not reachable for the poor people in remote rural and tribal areas.  However, Thuapali is not a remote village, nor was Manoj a poor fellow who could not pay for the health services.  However, our health system does not reach beyond Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and a few select cities where all our doctors and health infrastructures exist and are promoted with tax payers' money.

This is how we are developing an equitable growth model where our Corporate dalal netas and complacent bureaucrats are conveniently sitting in their Bhubaneswar luxurious flats by looting the people of the state.  When it comes to mine our resources and displace our people they use all their forces to exploit us all in the name of growth of the state.  However, when it comes to provide health, education and other basic services they provide all that in the capital city and select urban locations.

Manoj's yatra from Dilli to Palli proved fatal.  Unless we raise our voice, the trend of promoting blind and unsustainable urbanization in the country at the cost of villages and villagers will just grow fast.

Manoj is no more with us. However, let his spirit guide us towards a new revolution!

Good Morning Thought - 30th October 2012!

Listening to your heart is good, but taking everything to heart is not healthy… 

Good Morning! 

Researchers or pirates?

Sharing a small experience in life about Bhubaneswar based unethical water researchers/NGO consultants and their karnama:

A few years back, a group of researchers (who posed as my friends because we had met several times on issues of mutual concern) supported by a national forum (that works on water issues) said they want to join hands with us on a research work on Hirakud dam and the water conflicts. We readily agreed because we found these people, who hail from Bhubaneswar, reasonable and talented people.

So, based on the strength of our consent, they wrote a proposal to get funding for the research from a foundation.  They used our previous research and write ups on Hirakud dam issues extensively (in many places copied verbatim) in that proposal as well as in presentations they made at various platforms.  Then they got the money and organised a small consultation with us at Sambalpur where we introduced them to all the local people and farmers organisations who matter in Hirakud issue.  Then started the real drama.

Even when they kept on telling that the research was being done in partnership with us they started sending research assistants to the field directly, most of the times without our knowledge.  They then gave us the message that their leaders are in fact the only research experts (meaning no one at Sambalpur was capable to lead such research) and the research will be controlled by these big heads sitting at Bhubaneswar.  They then carried on with that research of their own.  They even took our help in housing their research assistants in villages and everywhere they visited they said to people that they are working with us, obviously because they had to use our credentials and relationships with the farmers and other people.

Finally, their reports got published.  Surprisingly, the reports did not mention a single reference to our work despite of the fact that their entire work started with funding received from proposals which were written basing on our documents and materials.

Well, we had withdrawn from the research immediately after it started, as we realized their unethical and unprofessional ways of doing it.  So, we should normally not worry about their product.  However, a glance through the report confirms my apprehension about the cheap tricks of these unethical people.  These people, as expected, have not even got the basic minimum courtesy in recognizing references which they have used in manipulative ways in the text.  At one place, they have even deviated from their referencing format to see that they don't print my name despite of citing a reference to my article (jointly written with a senior journalist friend).

Even as I like to congratulate these people for bringing out a publication on Hirakud water issues (which is anyway going to serve the society), I cant but restrict myself calling them cheats and pirates.

(My purpose of sharing this story is just to share my experience  in life that may help some of my friends here understand the true characters of such people.  Please don't ask me the names and other details of these people because I take the liberty not to provide any such information.  This is because I forgive them for being so vested in their interest.  Thanks for understanding.)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Good Morning Thought - 29th October 2012

Happiness or sadness is expression of your feeling at the moment, in a context; neither reflection of greatness of your heart nor that of heartlessness…

Good Morning!

Dear Chief Minister: Oppose Draft National Water Policy 2012 in its current form.

From Water Initiatives Odisha[1]

The Chief Minister
Government of Odisha

Subject: Request to oppose the Draft National Water Policy 2012 in its current form.

Dear Chief Minister,

As you may be kindly aware the Government of India has prepared the draft National Water Policy 2012 in January 2012 and since then two revisions have taken place. The 3rd draft was approved in June 2012 at a meeting of the National Water Resources Board. The Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India has taken recourse to the position that there should be a unified national perspective on water resources utilisation and management at local, regional, state and national level in drafting this policy. After various meetings and three drafts no consensus has yet emerged on various issues and aspects of the Draft Policy among the states.  In fact, there has hardly been any consultation with the people of the country on this Draft so far.

Many state Governments such as Punjab, Kerala etc, have opposed this draft policy and the Punjab cabinet has rejected this in a resolution of February-March 2012. Many civil society groups working on water have also opposed this Draft Policy on several genuine grounds.  Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO) has raised critical issues on this policy already.  This letter is to urge upon your good office to oppose the Draft Policy in its current form in the forthcoming meeting of National Water Resources Council meeting to be held on 30th of this month.  Based on media reports we believe that the Govt. of India is planning to finalize this Policy in that meeting. 

The National Water Resources Council headed by the PM and with Chief Ministers of all states as members had deferred taking up the draft national water policy 2012.  In fact, the new regulation and administration mechanisms that are being proposed by this Policy can be termed as infringing the State’s rights through a ‘coercive’ manner.  This is related to the move to take Water from ‘States’ list to ‘Concurrent’ list.  If this happens, we apprehend, the state governments will lose many of their rights in deciding and managing their water resources.  It will not benefit Odisha in matters such as the Polavaram dam. 

We at WIO have raised objections to the Draft Policy as its premises are built on principles of pricing, tariffs, commodification and commercialisation of water.  Water is a matter of right for the people and biodiversity.  By putting a price tag in a manner that will exhaust our already shrinking water resource, the policy, we are sure is meant to allow the private sector to make use of govt funds to increase their profits through contracts and concession agreements.  So, we urge, the Govt. of India must first revise and withdraw the policy position that water is an economic good rather and introduce it as an ‘finite ecological resource’ and then prioritize the allocations in a way that gives the people and ecology the first rights over the resource. In no circumstances, price and investment should determine the allocation of water.  We should not forget that we have not created water but we are only using it and the government is a custodian of the resource for common good.  In fact the Policy is also taking positions where, we apprehend, government will be reduced to few regulatory functions only and the private parties will take control of service provision and water management.  This cannot be accepted in a democratic country and hence must be opposed strongly.

Indian government is a signatory to the UN General Assembly resolution number 64/292 of 28th July 2010 “Human right to water and sanitation”, approved by 120 countries. This is now legally binding in international law. The UN affirmed by consensus that the right to water and sanitation is derived from the right to an adequate standard of living, as contained in several international human rights treaties in UN Human Rights Council decision of September 28, 2011.  The rights enshrined in the Constitution of India in Article - 21 “Right to Life” includes the right to food and the right to water which are also upheld by the Supreme Court in several cases and judgements.  The current Draft, even though an improvement from the previous ones, has failed to recognize this in its true spirits.  We urge upon you to oppose this to give justice to the people and biodiversity of the state.

The Water Regulatory Authorities proposed in the policy may turn out to be highly autocratic in nature and under the premise of ‘commodification of water’ they will surely work with a bias towards the private sector at the cost of the common people, farmers, fisherfolks and biodiversity.  While we suggest for democratic ways of regulating water use with participation of the common people and people’s representatives in a bottom-up approach, any participation of industrialists and corporate houses in decision making authorities of water resources governance be opposed.  They should not be any decision making role in the proposed Integrated Water Resources Management programme driven River Basin Organisations as well.  They can at best be termed as ‘consumers’ allocation of water to whom can be decided only by democratic authorities based on principles of ‘water security for present and future’ with proper cumulative ecological impacts assessment done for all the water resources of the state. 

Finally, we urge upon you to demand adequate public consultations on the Draft Policy before it is finalized.  The Govt. of India should not be in a hurry to pass this without such consultations with the people.

There are several other issues which we have raised and for your kind attention, we are attaching (as annexure) some of our critical concerns on the Draft National Water Policy 2012 urging upon you to consider these while putting up the state government’s stand in the above said meeting. 

We look forward to your judicious action in this matter ensuring a secured water future for the people and biodiversity of the state. 

Thanking you

Ranjan Panda
Convenor, Water Initiatives Odisha
Cell: +91-94370-50103

[1] Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO) is a 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.

Annexure to WIO’s letter to Chief Minister of Odisha

Water Initiatives Odisha’s

Critical Concerns and Broad Suggestions on Draft National Water Policy 2012

While the Draft Water Policy, 2012 accords basic livelihood and ecosystem needs first priority, its prescription for turning water into an ‘economic good’ after these needs are met makes it an easy tool to exploit water for profit. No lessons appear to have been learnt. Further, without a proper account of current needs, use and exploitation integrated with population increases, growing demand, and stresses arising out of climate change, it’s almost impossible to monitor such a vague and unclear ‘prioritisation’.

That the country still doesn’t have an updated database on the state of its water resources is clear from the draft policy which fails to come up with any concrete data on most issues it deals with. The existing policy expressed concern about adequate and accurate data; the proposed draft repeats this concern. All plans and policies related to water use and management are destined to fail in the absence of data, transparency and accessibility. It’s perhaps because of this inadequacy of data and assessment that the policy fails to quantify that ‘minimum’ of basic need beyond which it suggests water be treated as an ‘economic good’.

Maintaining ecological flow, a major concern across the globe, has not been accorded due seriousness in the draft policy. Like the 2002 policy, the draft proposes to set aside a portion of river flow to meet ecological needs. Considering the extent of degradation of India’s rivers and the pace of industrialisation and urbanisation, with scant control over the use and abuse of rivers by these sectors, ensuring the minimum ecological flow of rivers will be difficult. Indeed here water as a survival need and as an economic good contradict one another. The draft policy puts the onus of local-level awareness, maintenance etc on local communities but fails to recognise that most river basins are polluted and stressed by industry and urban settlement. While the later need water for survival and basic livelihoods, the former has historically been an abuser. Further, whilst basic users cannot pay for the use in ‘cash’, commercial and luxury users can use ‘cash payment’ to justify their abuse of the resource.

None of these problems have been addressed by the 2002 policy; the current draft does nothing further than advocating age-old and unviable transfer of water from open to closed basins and the formulation of regulatory authorities.  The National Water Policy, 2002 also treated water as an economic good and talked about regulations and systematic planning, cost recovery, etc. However, we lost more water than we had in this one decade, water conflicts grew, and the bias towards corporations and the rich deepened.

Broad set of recommendations

What we should do, according to veteran water expert Ramaswamy Iyer, is to try and reverse our thinking. “The ecology cannot be asked to accommodate development needs. Our visions of development must spring from an understanding of ecological limits,” he asserts. Himanshu Thakkar of the South Asian Network on Dams, Rivers and People finds a way out in the South African Water Act: “When the South African Water Act was passed in 1997, based on the White Paper on South African Water and Sanitation Policy, 1994, the policy took a detailed look at defining water for basic human needs, its quality, quantity, access, distance etc, as well as various issues related to water and environment. It was only with this background that South Africa could take the revolutionary step of securing water for basic human needs and ecological reserves first. It went through a rigorous, extensive process of consultations with communities and other stakeholders (which still continues) to actually calculate the reserve, implement it and monitor it.”

As against the 2002 policy, the 2012 policy considers climate change a major factor. This is understandable as debates and discussions around climate change increased substantially after the formation of the National Climate Change Action Plan, which is also said to have mandated the need for a new water policy. 

However, when it comes to mitigation and adaptation, the draft discounts the culprits and asks communities to take action, become sensitised and be resilient. It is now well established that rural communities -- a majority of the country’s population -- are excellent at adapting to climate change.

It is urban society, large, centralised and heavy investment development models, and industry that are the real culprits. The policy should therefore make it mandatory for these sectors also to be climate sensitive and use water more rationally. This can be done through water rationing for these segments. Putting a price on water and leaving its management in the hands of the private sector will only increase the access of richer sections to this resource. India’s National Water Policy must recognise this reality.

Guiding principles

The National Water Policy should be based on the following guiding principles:

Water is a finite natural resource over which all human beings and other species have equal rights.

Centralised authoritarian structures of water governance and regulation should be done away with.

Water for life and livelihoods (communities/people who are directly dependent on water for their livelihood, for example, fisherfolk) should be provided free of cost as part of the state’s responsibility under the principle of ‘rights’ of these communities over the resource.

Industry and corporate houses that use water as a ‘commercial good’ for production and profit must not be considered ‘decision-making’ stakeholders and hence must never be allowed to sit on any decision-making bodies related to water management and governance.

Water allocation should be based on the carrying capacity of the ecology, considering present and future use, demand, recharging and threat perspectives, where ‘future’ should not be limited to a few decades only.

If there has to be any bias towards a section in water allocation then it should be towards the poor, farmers, fisherfolk and other sections of society whose lives and livelihood are directly related to water. And, of course, towards other life forms on earth.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sunday Thought - 28th October 2012

Proving others wrong satisfies one the most.  But, finding your own fault is one of the best ways to improve your paths of being…

Good Morning! Happy Sunday!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

On OTV Odisha Citizen Award.

Dear Friends/Co-sailors,

Greetings from Water Initiatives Odisha!

I don't have words to thank you all for showering so much love and support on me. Despite of the fact that I never asked anyone to vote for me for the award (because I personally don't believe in such voting systems), many of you not only voted yourselves but also urged your friends to vote. I am really humbled and honored by this. 

I have to inform you that two days back I came to k
 now that the Award is being sponsored by steel, mines and real estate companies. While I don't have any problem receiving an award (if at all I emerge as the winner in the voting) from a media house, receiving anything sponsored by the said mining and real estate companies would mean a conflict of interest. So, I have sent in an email to OTV to drop me from the list, if at all I emerge the final winner, and give it to the next person.

OTV, and almost all media houses of Odisha, have always supported our work on water and environment and we are obliged to them. The matter that the eminent jury nominated me as one of the four nominees is already an award. The fact that they have helped us bring water to the centre stage of development discourse in the state by supporting our efforts is already a big recognition. And all of your support showered on me too is the best award I could get.

I am sorry that I am writing this at the fag end when voting for the nominations are over and many of you must have invested your time and money in voting. I apologize for the same but hope you will understand my position and stand with my stand on the issue. Actually, I could not help it also because I came to know about the sponsors so late.

For your kind information, I am sharing below excerpts from the letter I wrote to the Managing Editor of OTV.  I am sure this gives you further details on why I took such a stand:

I am really thankful for all of you my dear friends in OTV who have constantly helped WIO in its endeavor in bringing water to the centre stage of dialogue in the development discourse of the state. You have all along stood with us and in fact OTV, as well as other media groups of the state, have been the best partners in our activities. We are an informal yet the most active network on water, environment and climate change issues which is not a funded group. Unlike big NGOs and other groups who run with huge financial support, WIO works with support of its member organisations and individuals. In fact many of our programmes are self funded from my share of earning which I do from my research and journalistic assignments. And, it is needless to say, we are always overwhelmed by voluntary contribution in terms of time and intellectual inputs by many of our members and well wishers.  So, without the help of OTV and other friendly media groups, it would not have been possible for us to raise the pertinent issues continuously. Therefore, before going on to write the mail, I would first like to thank you again for your constant support.

I also feel proud and privileged that the eminent jury members have chosen me as one of the nominees for the Award and the voting is still on. As you know I have all along been a simple person, who considers himself as a soldier of Water and Mother Earth; I even refuse to apply for any such awards. I had therefore refused to give consent to many friends who wanted to recommend my name for the OTV Odisha Citizen Award. However, on the last date of application, a close friend and mentor said he would not listen to me and would send the application. So, I gave the consent, also because its an initiative of OTV. I really find this a noble initiative by OTV and congratulate you all for this.

Yesterday only I came to know that the award under the Social Service category is being sponsored by a mining and steel company. I also found out a real estate company to be the prime sponsor for this initiative. As you are kindly aware, WIO has been at the forefront of advocacy efforts against diversion of water to industries/power plants from irrigation and this mining company is one of such beneficiaries. WIO has also been the only network in the state which is advocating for eviction of flood plain areas which are encroached by real estate companies and builders. While I would have felt so proud to receive any award/recognition from OTV, it would not be possible for me to receive anything that is sponsored by the company and the real estate companies because it would be a direct conflict of interest. I know the voting is on and the final name has not been declared yet. However, I write this mail to make my stand clear to you before hand so that you understand my position on the issue and take it in the right spirit. If in case my name emerges as the winner in the voting, please drop me and give it to the next person. This is my sincere urge.

For me, the nomination by the eminent jury is already an honor and I thank OTV for the constant support. By this and by telecasting my profile you have already helped in advancing the cause of water issues that are going more murkier and problematic by the day. Each vote that would have come my way is a vote for water and I hope each person who has voted for me has done that realizing the importance of water conservation in the critical scarcity situation we are already in. So, by doing this, you have already given me the award. Thanks a ton.

Thank you and all at OTV. I once again congratulate you for starting a noble initiative like the Odisha Citizen Award. I pray before the almighty that the initiative lasts long and creates the much needed impact in the society and creates more aware and awakened citizens.


Thanks again, my dear friends, for all your support.

With regards,


Ranjan K Panda


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

Lead, Water Core Group, NGO Forum on ADB, Manila 

Mobile:             +919437050103      
You can also mail me at:

Skype: ranjan.climatecrusader

Please join our group 'Save Rivers Save Civilizations' at

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

Good Morning Thought - 27th October 2012

When truth irritates you; wrong doings don’t shame you anymore; and you don’t find anything unethical at all, you have perhaps reached to a state of complete mindlessness. In such a condition, better get your heart tested with the ones you hate the most…

Good Morning!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Good Morning Thought - 26th October 2012

If there was a heaven where the immersed Goddess Durga was to return, then that heaven would have been full with cancer patients.  This is because all our rivers and water bodies, where we immerse our Gods, are now heavily polluted with toxic and carcinogenic substances. 

If you are really religious, fight for Clean Rivers and Safe Water!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Corrupting Durga, the human way:

We call politicians corrupt when they extract money from schemes meant for the poor to fund election campaigns and party functions.  But we tend to ignore the fact that most of the puja pandals that have been erected in the name of worshiping Goddess Durga have also done so by extracting money from many poor people.  I have heard from insiders of puja committees that donation collectors have even resorted to threatening and sometimes beating people who have shown their unwillingness to pay such chandas.  Why are we corrupting Goddess Durga to satisfy our greed? Are we not going religiously corrupt??

Wish the Good in us destroys the Evil that is gradually overpowering our minds.  

That would be the real Vijaya Dasami!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Dusshera Thoughts - 21st October 2012

The beauty in simplicity is best discovered in nature’s bounty.  Be simple and celebrate your existence.  That’s the best worship of Durga, the Goddess who abodes in the jungles.  She does not stay in glitzy pandals built out of poor people’s hard earned money and corrupt ones’ black money…

Happy Dusshera!  Goddess blesses you all!!

Vedanta Group's Company shuts down even before taking off

There is one small piece of good news from Keonjhar district.  As we can see from the news pasted below, the local people and environment may have got a fresh leash of life with the withdrawal process of land acquisition for Sterlite Iron and Steel Company (CISC), a Vedanta group of company.  

We thank the government for having heeded to the local people and having realized that irrigation patches should not be given away for destructive industrialization and mining.  

We congratulate the local people for having successfully fought the mighty green criminal Vedanta group and urge upon the government to speed up the process of withdrawal of land acquisition to return the land to the people at the earliest.

We also urge upon the govt. of Odisha to immediately stop acquiring all irrigated land and forests for any such destructive industrialization.  The monsoon fed agricultural land on which large number of farmers of the state depend must not also be acquired for such industries.  

Thanks and regards,


Land acquisition process withdrawn for Sterlite’s steel plant

The MoU was signed with the State government in 2004

BHUBANESWAR, October 19, 2012

The State government has formally started withdrawal of land acquisition process taken up for setting up a steel plant by Sterlite Iron and Steel Company (SISC) in Keonjhar district.

Office of Revenue Divisional Commission (Northern Division) submitted withdrawal of land acquisition notification for land measuring nearly 1,800 acres from eight villages in Keonjhar.

SISC, a sister concern of Sterlite group, had signed memorandum of understanding with the State government in 2004, but the project never took off. It was always mired in controversy.

A majority of people in Palaspanga area in Keonjhar district were opposed to the project.

Villages where land acquisition process were withdrawn included Darnardanpur (242.32 acres), Gopinathpur (120.58 acres), Narsinghpur (54.24 acres), Singraisuan (123.67 acres), Tikarpada (612.64 acres), Mahadeijoda (270.37 acres), Kadagarh (380.08 acres) and Silisuan (67.07 acre).

As the project did not progress, Vedanta Group, of which Sterlite is a part, had tried to rope in on infrastructure major Larsen and Toubro.

In 2010 Vedanta Chairman Anil Agarwal had said the company was negotiating with L&T for setting up of a steel plant. Vedanta Group was supposed to invest Rs. 12,502 crore.
Sources in Steel and Mines department said since the land patches were irrigated land, the project was shelved at that place for the time being. Government is hopeful that the project would come up somewhere else.

This is the second industry of Vedanta Group after Vedanta Alumina Refinery at Lanjigarh of Odisha that had attracted trouble.

On its part the State government had already issued under section 6 (1) notification Land Acquisition Act.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Weekend Thought - 20th October 2012

When God is in a mood to test your strength, he often makes you feel most vulnerable at a time when you think you are at best of your times…

Good Morning! Have a Great Weekend!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Good Morning Thought - 19th October 2012

Pain silences and its painful to be silenced.  But silence is meditation too, that heals…

Good Morning!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Good Morning Thought - 18th October 2012

Humanity is on a reverse gear as in this current day world order, things are loved and people are used…

Good Morning!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Monday, October 15, 2012

Good Morning Thought - 16th October 2012

If our belongings added weight to our existence, the world would already have run out of space for housing graveyards.  The very fact that you belong to Mother Earth is a matter of pride.  So, when humane acts justify your existence why waste the opportunity of existence boasting about your material possessions…

Good Morning!

Protect Water Bodies of State - WIO Update - 12th October 2012

WIO Update on Surface Water Bodies of Odisha – 12th October 2012

Water Initiatives Odisha welcomes the High Court judgement asking Government of Odisha to formulate a law to protect Water Bodies

As we come to know from media reports, the Honourable High Court of Odisha have directed the govt. of Odisha to formulate a law to protect water bodies of the state within two years.  WIO welcomes this judgement and thanks the Honourable Court for this.

On January 28, 2011 the honourable Supreme Court of India, in a historic judgement, had directed all the State Governments of the country to prepare schemes for eviction of illegal/unauthorized occupants of Gram Sabha/Gram Panchayat/ Poramboke/ Shamlat land saying these must be restored to the Gram Sabha/Gram Panchayat for the common use of villagers of the village.   WIO had then urged upon the Govt. of Odisha to see to the issues raised by this judgment and take appropriate action to free all water bodies of the state from all sorts of encroachments and ensure their protection and revival from the destructive forces including pollution from industries and urbanization. 

As of now we don’t know what steps the state government has taken in that regard.  What we can see from ground realities is that more and more water bodies are being encroached by the rich and powerful both in urban and rural areas.  Now, after the High Court judgement, the government must immediately step into action and free all water bodies of the state from encroachment. 

Surface water bodies play a major role in retaining rain water and recharging the local ecology.  They are also a major livelihood support system for many poor farmers and communities depending on fishery.  WIO therefore urges upon the government to immediately declare a Plan of Action to free all water bodies of state from all forms of encroachment. 

Freeing water bodies from encroachments would also lead to some discontent among local people and some people might have to be displaced.  The government must sensitively look into such issues and where it involves displacement of poor people the government should talk to them in a cohesive manner and provide appropriate rehabilitation. 

However, where the water bodies are encroached by the rich and powerful such as estate developments and private builders they should be heavily fined and directed to restore the water bodies with their own funds.  Odisha is already a water stressed state and we can no more neglect water bodies, WIO urges.

WIO has been urging upon the state government to formulate a Policy on Water Bodies.  Time the government starts discussing with people and experts on this and builds a strong Policy to protect, preserve and rejuvenate all water bodies of the state.  The state must ensure that not a single water body dies of encroachment, industrialization, pollution and urbanisation, WIO demands.

For further information, please contact:

Ranjan Panda

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

Lead, Water Core Group, NGO Forum on ADB, Manila 

Mobile:             +919437050103      
You can also mail me at:

Skype: ranjan.climatecrusader

Please join our group 'Save Rivers Save Civilizations' at

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. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Bijli chor Vedanta...

Dear All,

The Vedanta company which is putting in an all out campaign to show that its closure at Lanjigarh will halt development in the state, obviously to influence the current process going on in the Supreme Court, has been found indulged in bijli chori as well. Please see the news below for details. 

So, green criminal Vedanta, which is has been caught being a Water Lootera, is now a Bijli chor.... Some people who still live with the myth that such a company, which is looting our resources to thrive itself will develop our state, should now wake up to the reality.

Thanks and regards,



OERC whip on Vedanta

Bhubaneswar : 14/October/2012

The Vedanta Aluminium Ltd (VAL) was found illegally sourcing power from Group Company, Sterlite Energy Limited (SEL) causing losses to the tune of Rs 15crores to the Reliance Infra-owned licensed distribution company WESCO in Odisha.

Holding the activities of VAL as “illegal”, the Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) has directed the Vedanta to cough up the amount due to the DISCOM.

Importantly, the Commission, while disposing off the case, has defined the terms “Open Access’ and “deemed licensee” in a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) which will have far reaching ramifications.

The Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL) aluminum manufacturing unit at Jharsuguda in Odisha which has been notified as a SEZ was sourcing power directly form Group company SEL, Independent Power Plant (IPP) located adjacent to the SEZ through a dedicated 400 KV double circuit transmission line.

Claiming that the VAL-SEZ’s sourcing power from SEL-IPP amounts to Open Access drawl of power, the WESCO, which is the sole licensee for power distribution in the area, demanded cross subsidy surcharge on the quantum of power availed by VAL-SEZ.

The Odisha Power Transmission Corporation Limited (OPTCL), the sole licensee for transmission business, also raised objection to the SEL-IPP’s “illegal” laying of 400 KV line in their areas of operation. GRIDCO, the sole bulk power supplier, and the SLDC also become party to the case protesting against these activities of Vedanta.

Interestingly, when the OERC construed that the VAL-SEZ’s sourcing of power is Open Access drawl of power and directed the Vedanta to pay the cross-subsidy surcharge to WESCO, Vedanta came before the Commission with two applications seeking approval for PPA between VAL-SEZ and SEL-IPP, and license for VAL –SEZ to carryout distribution business inside the SEZ area.

 Vedanta claimed that the SEZ notification has given the promoter the status of deemed licensee. “So, according distribution licensee by the OERC is only a formality.”

 It claimed that there is no illegality in VAL-SEZ directly sourcing power from SEL-IPP and it does not amount to Open Access drawl of power. Ridiculously, Vedanta put forth that the individual units of the aluminium plant such as pot lines, carbon plant, cast house etc. are individual consumers of power.

The three-member Commission, comprising Chairman SP Nanda, members B K Mishra and S.P.Swain, rejected the applications of Vedanta and directed the company to pay the cross subsidy surcharge to the WESCO.

“Consequent upon the rejection of this application the applicant is be treated as consumer of WESCO, the existing DISCOM of the area. As a result M/s. VAL-SEZ has to pay cross-subsidy surcharge to WESCO for Open Access drawl of power from M/s. SEL”, observed the OERC.

While passing the order, last week, the OERC has also made some  adverse remarks about the company:

“It has been stated earlier that much before the application for PPA with M/s. SEL and the present application for grant of distribution license were filed, the applicant has been enjoying power in an illegal and unauthorized manner from M/s. SEL through a 400 KV double circuit transmission line.”

Stating that the present application for grant of distribution license is a ploy by which the consumer wants to escape from payment of open access charges, the Commission has observed that this is a matter where the substance should prevail over form - the applicant cannot take shelter under a web of technicalities to subvert the purpose of the Act.

“This is not a genuine application for taking a distribution license for giving supply of electricity to genuine consumers in a particular area to increase competition and efficiency. This is an attempt to avoid payment of open access charges for unauthorized drawl of power from M/s. SEL for a number of years”, remarked the Commission.

Good Morning Thought - 15th October 2012

Surrendering in Love takes you to a state of absolute trust; a stage from where you may either emerge stronger or become further vulnerable…

Good Morning! Have a Great Week!!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sunday Thought - 14th October 2012

Love fills, hatred kills…
Care heals, neglect annihilates…

Good Morning!  Happy Sunday!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Weekend Thought - 13th October 2012

Capability of creating something should not be invested in speed and volume of the creation but in quality of it, with due consideration of its impacts…
Good Morning! Great Weekend!!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Thought for Sunday - 7th October 2012

The ultimate victory comes when one heart gets adhibited to another and the loving souls merge.  It’s the only stage where both the invader and invaded celebrate with equal joy, a dictionary where nearness and distance are neither opposites nor antonyms…

Good Morning & Great Sunday!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Weekend Thought - 6th October 2012

A protean character can be austere in nature yet flamboyant…

Good Morning!  Great Weekend!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Good Morning Thought - 4th October 2012

By comparing time with money, humans have time and again proved their true character.  Time is life; don’t put a price on it. Better learn its value in your life…

Good Morning!