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Endangered rivers and biodiversity

By Parineeta Dandekar

Over 70 hydel projects are being constructed in the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi basins in Uttarakhand, adversely impacting over 9,000 hectares of forest land, the holy confluences of rivers and several wildlife parks. A Wildlife Institute of India report recommends that 24 of these projects be scrapped

Ganga Valley of Flowers National Park

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Buying silence, manufacturing consent

By Manshi Asher

The Himachal government has notified that the 1% free power to be made available for ‘local area development’ by hydropower producers would be distributed as annual cash transfers to ‘project-affected’ families. Is it trying to buy people’s silence in the face of increasing community opposition to hydroelectric projects?

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The Sindhol power struggle

By Ranjan K Panda

Three more hydropower plants on the Mahanadi, which already has the Hirakud dam, will mean that the river will be dammed four times in a 100-km stretch, virtually killing it. To what lengths is the government prepared to go to serve the interests of water-guzzling industry, ask communities and activists who are strongly resisting the Sindhol project

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Can science solve our water problems?

The Supreme Court believes it can. In a series of recent directives the Court has recommended scientific solutions to the water problem in the land of Aryabhatta and Ramanujan. Ranjan K Panda points out that it is science which has caused much of the problem and that we must also look at strengthening traditional and cultural solutions to water management

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India's first bid to privatise irrigation project stalled

By Anosh Malekar

The Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority has directed the Maharashtra Krishna Valley Development Corporation to withdraw its controversial proposal to privatise the Nira-Deoghar project, a long-pending, money-guzzling project in the Krishna river valley

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Hirakud dam causing rather than preventing Orissa floods?

By Ranjan K Panda

The Hirakud dam was originally conceived as a flood control measure on the Mahanadi. The rule curve or storage level was revised in recent times to prioritise the needs of irrigation, industry and power-generation. With serious consequences for flood control in Orissa. Are economic compulsions being put before human lives and livelihoods?

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TERI faults Coca-Cola for depleting community water resources

A recent report by TERI on six Coca-Cola bottling plants in India confirms that the plants have been located in water stressed areas and recommends that the plant in Kala Dera near Jaipur be closed down or relocated

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Industry vs agriculture: The battle over water in Hirakud

By Ranjan K Panda

Before 1997, total allocation to industry of water from the Hirakud reservoir was 31,912 lakh gallons per year. In the nine years since, an 'allocation committee' has allocated 27 times more water to industry. This has, of course, been at the cost of water for irrigation

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Privatisation cloaked as concessions and decentralisation?

By Nitya Jacob

At the Fourth World Water Forum in Mexico City, everybody agreed that governments have failed to provide safe drinking water to their people. The new management mantras proposed were decentralisation and handing over the management of water supply to private concessionaires

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Water of life: The rebirth of Surodi

By Shrayas Jatkar

A firsthand account of how the villagers of Surodi got together to construct and repair bunds in their village, transforming it from a poor, drought-prone village into a thriving model of self-sufficiency

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Anicut brings Mota Mayanga village to life

By Dr Sudhirendar Sharma

With the simple construction of an anicut, the Western India Rainfed Farming Project (WIRFP) has helped transform the lives of tribal villagers living in the seriously degraded and drought-prone village of Mota Mayanga in Partapgarh, Rajasthan

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'The miracle of paenghara has shown us the way to live again'

By Ranjan K Panda

People in the tribal village of Padia Badmal, in Sambalpur district, have revived the traditional practice of building paengharas, or small tanks, to help combat drought. This simple intervention has led to improved yields, less outward migration and a greater sense of confidence and security among the villagers

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The Ganga, viewed from Delhi

By Dr Sudhirendar Sharma

Delhi lifts 100 million gallons a day from the Ganga river. Unable to meet the growing demand, the Delhi Jal Board plans to increase water tariffs, cut down on operational losses and restrict demand. But is this the best solution for Delhi's water woes?

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Plachimada vs Coca-Cola: 1,000 days on

By N P Chekutty

Activists and campaigners converged on Plachimada in Kerala recently in support of the ongoing struggle to shut down the Coca-Cola plant which has been dangerously overdrawing water

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Will Area Water Partnerships give people back their rivers?

By Surekha Sule

The people living near the Patalganga river have been fighting for two decades against the pollution of their water source. Now there's new hope in the form of the Patalganga Area Water Partnership, initiated by the Indian Water Works Association, that will give them a say in how this natural resource is used and maintained

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Steel City tackles its water woes

By Manipadma Jena

The Steel City of Jamshedpur suffers severe water stress. But over the last decade, steel giant Tata Steel has reduced pollutant discharge by 98% and cut water consumption by 67.3%. Today, India's largest iron and steel production facility boasts a zero groundwater extraction record. The conservation efforts of the industry that dominates this town are being replicated by citizens in the old city. InfoChangeIndia travelled to Jamshedpur to document this pathbreaking corporate-citizens initiative

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Silent Valley in turmoil again

By Max Martin

As the power-strapped Kerala state studies the feasibility of a 64 metre high dam across the Kunthi in Silent Valley, environmentalists argue that the Rs 2,470 million dam will have an ominous impact on the environment

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Village uses 'Laporiya Squares' to outwit drought

By Dr Sudhirendar Sharma

In Laporiya village in Rajasthan, a unique water conservation scheme involving Laporiya Squares has ensured bumper harvests and increased incomes

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Harvesting rain, auctioning gain

By Dr Sudhirendar Sharma

The auctioning of water in the Integrated Watershed Development Project in the Shivalik foothills of Haryana suggests that this is a significant new participatory approach to watershed development

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Living with floods

By Naren Karunakaran

There was a time when the people of north Bihar, India's most flood-prone state, celebrated the monsoons and lived with floods. How and when did they become victims of floods, struggling to control the waters? Now, a silent movement to empower citizen's groups to re-establish their cultural ownership over rivers is taking shape

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Backgrounders

Agriculture And Food Security : Background & Perspective

Agriculture And Food Security : Background & Perspective

By Devinder Sharma

Pre-Independence India suffered repeated famines, drought and food shortages. But following the Green Revolution in the '60s, yields and foodstocks rose manifold. Now, 30 years later, Indian farmers have realised the follies of their tryst with intensive agriculture. Despite 70 per ...

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Analysis

The organic foods divide in India

The organic foods divide in India

By Rahul Goswami

The divide between farmers growing and selling organic produce in India and the major organic foods and beverages retailers is widening, to the detriment of organic farmers. This was evident at Biofach India 2013 held in Bengaluru

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Features

Ragi over rice

Ragi over rice

By Ananda Siddhartha

As in the rest of India, in Pavagada taluka of Karnataka, ragi is losing out to rice, groundnut and other cash crops. Until 15 years ago, it was the reverse. What are the market and policy pressures that have caused this reversal, and what are its consequences on health and nutri...

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Books & Reports

Vertical farms

Vertical farms

By Sudhirendar Sharma

A new book by Dickson Despommier posits the farm of the future as a vertical farm over 30 floors in any city centre. Powered by renewable energies a vertical farm could meet the food needs of 50,000 people, consume 70-95% less water, restrict the use of harmful agro-chemicals and...

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Punjab Series

Nation's food bowl in crisis

By Anosh Malekar

When the state that was the country's biggest agricultural success story in the 1970s tops the list of indebted farmers, it is obvious that there is something very rotten in the state of agriculture in the country. A three-part series that looks at the agriculture crisis in India's fo...

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News

Stories of change

Nalbari farmers resume cultivation after 25 years

By Ratna Bharali Taukdar

Thousands of farmers in Borigog-Barbhag block, in lower Assam’s Nalbari district, joined hands to dredge a 15-km stretch of a water channel that had blocked and flooded farmlands across 50 villages. For 25 years, farmers had abandoned work on their waterlogged lands. No...

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Changemakers

Urban poverty and the food crisis

A grain in an empty bowl: Government services in the urban context

By Maheen Mirza

Anganwadis, ICDS and PDS are huge government programmes meant to cater to the health and nutritional requirements of the poor. Yet 72.4% of urban poor children in Madhya Pradesh are underweight, 60.4% are undernourished and almost nine out of 10 are anaemic. The fifth and final part o...

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Backgrounders

IT And Development : Background & Perspective

IT And Development : Background & Perspective

By Aditya Dev Sood

What use can a computer be to someone earning less than a dollar a day? What use is information technology in a country that has a low penetration of telephony and computers, where even electricity is not assured, and where millions are still illiterate? These are standard questions...

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Analysis

Free culture for a free society

By V Sasi Kumar

What is it that prompts a group of people in Calicut to start the Chamba Swatantra Cinema Project? How did the world move from copyrights over knowledge, introduced in the 16th-18th centuries and codified as the Statute of Anne, to free software, free knowledge and free culture? And w...

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Features

Do you want to be watched?

The new rules for surveillance under the IT Act are an assault on our freedom. They also seem misguided, says Sunil Abraham . How many terrorists or criminals will be arrested in India thanks to the new ID requirements at cybercafés or a ban on public wi-fi? Intelligence work cannot be replaced...

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Changemakers

Stories of change

The people's voice

By Sherna Gandhy

Every citizen in this country has a right to be heard. But what happens when you live in an area where no mainstream media organisation bothers to penetrate, and when you speak a language no media organisation knows or understands? CGNet Swara uses mobile telephony to break through th...

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News

India turns to ICT for better delivery of welfare schemes

Bihar will become the first state in the country to videograph the distribution of PDS coupons to weed out ineligible recipients. And the Union human resources ministry proposes to use a cheap, indigenously made tablet PC to record BPL and caste data

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