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Representation to MOEFCC Reg. Kanhar Barrage (New) in Jharkhand & Chhattisgarh
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Date: Mon, Aug 24, 2015 at 9:29 AM
Subject: Representation Reg. Kanhar Barrage (Interstate) Project in Garhwa District, Jharkhand & Balarampur District of Chhattisgarh by M/s. Water resources Department, Government of Jharkhand – for consideration of TOR
The Chairman and Members,
Expert Appraisal Committee
River Valley & Hydro Electric Projects,
Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change
At the outset we want to state that this proposal is misconceived, unfeasible and without any justification. We quote the following reasons for the same:
1. Very recently, the Kanhar Irrigation Project in District Sonbhadra (Uttar Pradesh) started construction in 2014 which is proposed to dam approximately 5200 sq.km. of the total catchment of 5,654 sq.km. of river Kanhar. This U.P. Government project was originally conceived in early 70s, the project plans to tap nearly 92% water resource of the river Kanhar.
The same construction was challenged before National Green Tribunal in December, 2014 and the court has halted any new construction of the project until a high level committee formed by the court submits it report. The decision of validity of Environment Clearance and Forest Clearance is yet to be given by the court.
In such scenario where 92% of the water resource is already proposed to be dammed in Sonbhadra, on what basis this project is conceived? Is there any consideration of the carrying capacity of the river and any consideration to the ecological and social value of the river?
2. Kanhar is a major tributary of River Sone which forms an important catchment of Ganga River Basin. After construction of Rihand Dam and Bansagar dam and various other water abstraction structures owing to number of industries in the region because of availability of coal mines-River Sone is one of the most exploited system which has lost its riverine characteristics.
Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute reported disappearance of 20 fish species from Sone in the time span between 1976 and 2011 which is attributed to increased abstraction of water from the Sone river system. The report clearly states that ‘damming of rivers or tributaries is the root cause of river obstructions causing severe modifications and perturbations to the river flow, velocity, depth, substratum, pools, ecology and fish habitat’. There is reporting of 14 exotic alien species in the river. The report claims that the river Sone is in critically modified (class F) condition with discharge of mere 5.16% of Mean Annual Runoff (MAR) and it will require at least 34.2% of MAR to bring it to slightly modified class (class B).
This very fact cannot be ignored that River Sone is now a dead river with such meagre flow. The Kanhar Project by U.P. Government is hugely opposed by local villagers and environmentalists due to the adverse environment and social impact the project would pose. The National Green Tribunal in its Judgment Om Dutt Singh & Anr vs State of Uttar Pradesh & Ors dated 7th May, 2015 took cognizance of the sad state of river Sone in respect of Kanhar Irrigation Project.
When the above mentioned project is being opposed day and night, another proposal to divert water from Kanhar is not only another misconceived proposal but also shows the casual approach of the States for the environment and ecology.
3. Mr. Himanshu Thakkar of SANDRP has showed his concern about the lack of clarity and data regarding the present proposal through his email representation to Expert Appraisal Committee dated 22nd August, 2015. Since, we are endorsing the views presented by him and therefore the same has not been repeated here.
This proposal of another water abstraction structure on River Kanhar will be disastrous and not feasible at any cost. Hence, this proposal shall be rejected at the scoping stage itself.
We hope the Experts Members will take cognizance of our concern and acknowledge our views.
Vindhya Bachao Secretariat, 36/30, Shivpuri Colony, Station Road Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh-231001
• National Green Tribunal Judgment dated 7th May, 2015 (Om Dutt Singh & Anr versus State of U.P. & Ors) Click Here
• National Green Tribunal Order dated 7th July, 2015 (Om Dutt Singh & Anr versus State of U.P. & Ors) Click Here
• A GIS-based approach in drainage morphometric analysis of Kanhar River Basin, India by Banaras Hindu University- October, 2014 published in Appl Water Sci, Springerlink. Click Here
• Environmental flow requirements of river Sone: impacts of low discharge on fisheries-August, 2014 by Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute Click Here