How Borewell Restoration Is Helping Farmers Repay Their Loans

Wednesday, March 27, 2019
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Irappa Saugli grows 80 types of crops on his organic farm thanks to recharged borewell.

In 2013, there were 2.6 million deep tubewells and/or borewells (deeper than 70 m) in India irrigating 12.68 million ha of land. However, around 12% of these borewells had either dried up or supplied less water than expected. Expenditure on borewells is one of the reasons for mounting farm debt. This is why artificial recharge of aquifers is essential. But exhaustive awareness campaigns...

In Bihar, shared solar pumps solve irrigation trouble

Wednesday, March 20, 2019
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Increase in farm area and replacement of diesel with sun are major benefits. Source: AKRS)

Agriculture in Bihar has languished primarily because of high input costs, especially that of energy due to inadequate grid electricity supply and a high price of diesel. Rural electrification through grid supply is not happening in Bihar due to lack of public investment. Also, the existing groundwater markets are neither increasing irrigation nor achieving equity. So, there is a need for an alternative. The Bihar government launched a scheme...

Hilsa fishers driven to the edge by overfishing

Tuesday, December 18, 2018
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Fishermen getting ready to fish hilsa. Source:  Dhruba Das Gupta)

The hilsa fishermen of Howrah district in West Bengal are struggling against declining catch, stiff competition from mechanised trawlers and non-traditional fishermen entering the lucrative occupation. ​The hilsa fishermen get about six months to fish hilsa, considered a delicacy in West Bengal and Bangladesh. Mid-July to mid-September is the season for larger hilsa that fetch high prices....

Plunder of the Aravallis risks lives in north India

Thursday, November 22, 2018
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The lush Aravalli range of Rajasthan over a decade ago. Photo by Nataraja/Wikimedia Commons.

Fourteen years ago, in 2004, a Supreme Court order had banned mining in many parts of the hill ranges, but it was blatantly violated by illegal miners with the connivance of the government that turned a blind eye. The systematic plunder of the Aravallis continued despite numerous government reports documenting it. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India’s report earlier this year had...

How Kerala floods can push for protection of Western Ghats

Friday, October 26, 2018
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Suggestions by Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel were ignored. Source: Wikimedia Commons

The entire Western Ghats was proposed as an ecologically sensitive area (ESA) with a graded or layered approach to conservation. These concerns were largely ignored by the governments of six states, including Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, that come under Western Ghats. Several protests were held and private funders lobbied against the report. The Union...

Faith in the forest: How sacred groves function

Wednesday, August 15, 2018
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Such temples dedicated to local deities are spread all over pasture, forest lands of south Rajasthan.

With certain rules around extraction of resources, including ban on cutting of trees, these sacred groves contribute significantly to wildlife protection, soil conservation, groundwater recharge, and as a good source of herbs, fruits and other economic resources to local people. But practices around these spaces differ with location and may not always abide by the concept of unaltered,...

‘Farmers and wildlife will suffer if Mhadei’s water is diverted’

Sunday, July 9, 2017
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Mhadei or Mandovi river is a lifeline of Western Ghats. Source: Pixabay

The beautiful Mandovi or Mhadei river is a bone of contention between Goa and Karnataka for last over 15 years. The rivers flows for the first 35 kilometers through Karnataka and enters Goa through a pristine forest range of Western Ghats. While Goa calls it a lifeline which keeps the salty sea water away from the agriculture belt, Karnataka wants to build 12 dams to divert water, claiming it will serve its dry central region where farmers...

How Kinnaur is dealing with climate change

Thursday, June 1, 2017
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The dusty snow on lower reaches of Kinnaur.

As the Himalayan Region warms up faster than other places of the world, erratic weather puts geographically-vulnerable places such as Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh at greater risk. Rains are increasing, snowfall is declining, and temperatures are rising, which all have great impacts on an area prone to landslides and fed by glacial melt. On April 16 this year, Kinnauris woke up to a snowfall which had a dusty tinge to it. While a few experts...

To conserve tropical forests and wildlife, protect the rights of people who rely on them

Tuesday, May 16, 2017
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 Footbridge over the Coapa River in Chiapas, Mexico, which supports local silvopasture (forestry and livestock grazing). Lameirasb/Wikipedia, CC BY-SA

India is celebrated as a democracy, but its environmental policies are controlled by a centralised bureaucracy. Forest-dependent people are shut out of the policy process and cannot hold India’s bloated and ineffective bureaucracy to account. As a result, agencies engage in maneuvers such as categorizing urban gardens and commercial tree plantations as “forests.” This disguises losses of natural forestland and exaggerates the government’s...

Projects with scant regard for environment

Friday, March 31, 2017
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A drain emptying raw sewage. Source: Daniel Bachhuber/Flickr

The recent audit report on environmental clearance and post-clearance monitoring lists many such instances of violations from development projects across India. Inadequate environmental impact assessments, irregularities in public hearings, not meeting promises and unregulated use of natural resources are just a few of the points raised by the audit team. Companies also routinely went back on their promises made during public hearings whether...

नदी की धारा सा अविरल समाज

Thursday, June 30, 2016
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एक मन्दिर और छोटा सा सरोवर नांडूवाली नदी के उद्गम स्थल को चिन्हित करते हैं.

यह कल्पना करना मुश्किल है कि एक समय था जब यह नदी और जंगल सूख चुके थे। कुओं में कटीली झाड़ियां उग आई थी। बरसात के पानी से जो थोड़ी बहुत फसल होती थी, उसमें लोगों को गुज़ारा करना मुश्किल हो रहा था।  पैसों की कमी के चलते लोगों को गाय भैंस का चारा खरीदना भारी पड़ रहा था, इसीलिए वे उन्हें बेच कर बकरियां रखने लगे। वहीं रोज़ी रोटी के लिए लोगों को मजबूरन यहां से पलायन करना पड़ रहा था। लेकिन आज यह इलाका न केवल प्राकृतिक रूप से समृद्ध है बल्कि आर्थिक रूप से...

Anupam Mishra: The Gandhian I know

Tuesday, December 27, 2016
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Image Source: TED talks

Going by his fame, I had imagined somebody with people running around him, at least a couple of computers on display and cell phones caroling frequently. But here was a man working without a cellphone or a computer, surrounded by letters people wrote to him. A couple of wooden almirahs adorned with old postcards and images of famous personalities from Gandhi ji to Sunita Narain, stood in his room. Gandhi Marg, the bi-monthly periodical Anupam...

A Rosetta Stone to environmental law

Friday, October 28, 2016
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Diversion of forest land is one of the biggest concerns for villagers dependent on forests.

This document is a valuable resource that comprises important legal changes and events of last three years with reference to previous laws. Written by well known practitioner Kanchi Kohli, the e-book lists down steps that can be taken to secure people’s rights over land, forests, water and biodiversity. And all this is explained through instances where common men and women explore the nitty gritties of environmental laws. So, we have Sarita...

प्रकृति मेरे द्वार   

Sunday, November 9, 2014
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गांवों में लोगों ने स्थानीय सामग्री का प्रयोग करके, वहां की जलवायु को समझते हुए आवासों का निर्माण किया है

विश्वव्यापीकरण के नक्शेकदम पर चलते हुए हम अपने शहरों को अगला शिंघाई और दुबई बनाने में जुटे हैं और इसके चलते हम अपनी मजबूत सांस्कृतिक पहचान पीछे छोड़ते जा रहे हैं। वास्तुकला में यह बदलाव परंपरागत, अनूठे और उस जगह की जलवायु के हिसाब से बने हुए से लेकर आधुनिक, नीरस और सामान्य घरों के रूप में पहले के मुकाबले अब तेजी से हो रहा है। उदाहरण के लिए अगर हम पहले के समय को देखें, जब आंख बंद करके दूसरों की नकल करने की बजाय हम अपनी खुद की अद्वितीय...

Chennai gets another chance at waste management

Monday, July 11, 2016
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A scene outside the ever-crowded Kottur Market in Chennai. Source: India Water Portal

The Chennai floods of December 2015 had little to do with nature’s fury and more about city’s flawed urban planning and decades of improper garbage management. Chennai generates between 4,500- 4,800 tonnes of waste every day, and about 1.8 million tonnes a year. However, the city seems to be learning its lessons pretty quickly, and the effort of some responsible citizens has culminated into the Plastic Waste Rules 2016, and the Solid Waste...

‘सिर्फ मंशा से नहीं बदलेगी यमुना की काया’

Saturday, June 18, 2016
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एक अस्थायी बेड़े पर यमुना से प्लास्टिक के थैले इकठे करता यह आदमी एक महत्वपूर्ण काम कर रहा है । Source: Koshy Koshy/Flickr

यमुना एक्शन प्लान गंगा एक्शन प्लान पर आधारित है। और समस्या दोनों प्लान में एक ही रही है, कि उनकी स्थिति को समझे बिना उनका हल ढ़ूंढ़ने का प्रयास किया गया है। आपने नदियों को समझा नहीं और बिना समझे उनकी सफाई में जुट गए। नदियां कोई नहर नहीं हैं। वे जीवित तंत्र हैं। जब तक आप उसके जीवन को वापस नहीं लाएंगे, नदियां वापस नहीं आ सकतीं। मात्र एसटीपी (सीवरेज ट्रीटमेंट प्लांट) बना देने से या फिर सीवरेज को नदियों में गिरने से रोक देने से नदियां साफ नहीं हो...

'Chennai is not water-starved any more'

Friday, June 10, 2016
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Dr Raghavan at the Rain Centre.

It's not without reason that the Third World War is predicted to be triggered by water scarcity. The numbers themselves give us enough reason to be worried- by 2025, 60 per cent of India is expected to be living in towns and cities. Bore wells are getting deeper, urban areas brimming with population, and some already suffer from water shortage. However, success stories of humble organisations like the Rain Centre in Chennai let the results...

'हमने पानी का स्वभाव ही बदल दिया'

Monday, January 25, 2016
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वाराणसी में गंगा नदी. स्त्रोत: इंडिया वाटर पोर्टल

नदी का विज्ञानं क्या है और बढ़ते जल प्रदूषण , बाढ़ और सूखे के संदर्भ में यह कहाँ बैठता है? बता रहें हैं प्रसिद्ध पर्यावरणविद् और लेखक अनुपम मिश्र। यह व्यख्यान उन्होंने 28 नवंबर, 2015 को नई दिल्ली में जल नीति विशेषज्ञ स्व: रामास्वामी आर अय्यर की स्मृति में दिया । ‘सबको पानी’ के नारों से ले कर बड़ी वाटर वर्क्स की योजनाओं तक, अनुपम जी पानी से जुड़े सभी सामाजिक और राजनीतिक आयामों को छूते हुए नदी के अविरल स्वभाव को चित्रित करते हैं 

जलवायु परिवर्तन और कांच की बोतल

Saturday, January 30, 2016
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एल्यूमीनियम के डिब्बे के मुकाबले एक कांच की बोतल के उपयोग में केवल 10 प्रतिशत ऊर्जा की ही आवश्यकता होती  है

जिस पेड़ की शाख पर बैठे हो उसी को काटने की मूर्खता करते व्यक्ति की कहानी लगभग सभी ने बचपन में पढ़ी है।  वर्तमान परिदृश्य में, इस दुनिया के लिए यह कहानी सच प्रतीत होती दिख रही है। काल के इस पल में मानव एक बहुत ही खतरनाक दौर से गुजर रहा है जिससे उसका अस्तित्व ही खतरे में आ गया है । यह संकट स्वनिर्मित है । जलवायु परिवर्तन की पृष्टभूमि पश्चिम की औद्योगिक क्रांति के साथ शुरू हुई पर आज बढ़ते उपभोक्तावाद के दौर में भारत (7%) भी ग्रीन हाउस गैसों के...

Forest in my soul

Saturday, November 7, 2015
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The film follows the Kondhs through their lives and engagements with the forest. Source: Top Quark Films

If you frequent villages, ‘Jal, jungle, zamin’ is the commonest refrain you hear. While we city dwellers are acquainted to land and water, forest often remains a distant resource for us. But in many places of the world, there are people who are one with the forests. India is home to many such tribes who treat trees and shrubs as their extended family. The film, “I cannot give you my forest’, gives a glimpse of such a tribe, the Kondhs of...

Small & Sustainable: Power to Pico

Friday, May 1, 2015
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a pico hydro unit in operation.

The devastating impacts of big hydel projects, including submergence of habitats, alteration of river ecosystem, and displacements, are well known. Alternatively, India has been harnessing hydropower through small, community-based set ups which range from traditional water flour mills of the hills called gharats to the modern projects which generate power between 0-100 kw. These plants, being decentralised and community controlled, offer a...

Movement in the woods

Wednesday, March 11, 2015
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FRA gives powers back to the people.

Forest Rights Act proposes to do away with historical injustices done to those living in and around forests. It might be a tribal sourcing out forest foods and cultivating the land or a non-tribal using the wood for building own house, the Act gives powers back to the people not only for using the resources but also for conservation and protection. But there's still a lot of ground to be covered and we should not miss trees for the wood. Here...

Deceived: The water carriers of Kangra

Wednesday, December 24, 2014
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The distance between community and its resource leads to disaster in the long run.

Man has always been on quest of building new things. Even when there were no big machines and qualified engineers, the world had expert builders who shaped the earth into various forms to meet needs of the society. Kuhls of Himachal Pradesh are one such example of engineering brilliance. Kuhl is name given to a channel which carries glacial melt through gravity from nearby streams to the fields thus making irrigation possible even on steep...

From field to CFL

Thursday, December 18, 2014
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The huge biomass resource of India can overcome the energy deficit. Source: Ramjar/WikimediaCommons

Around a thousand families of Thalangi tribal hamlet in Coimbatore district received free television sets from the Tamil Nadu government in 2006. But these were of no use as the houses had no electricity supply. Kerosene was the main source of lighting. Today, it is interesting to see how the hamlet has met all its energy needs and also attained complete sanitation through a biodigester. Though biodigesters have conventionally been used to...

While the sun shines

Saturday, July 26, 2014
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Solar panel lighting up the traffic lights. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Last month, Delhi Metro launched its first rooftop solar power plant at Dwarka Sector 21 metro station, which would generate enough energy to meet the requirements of the station and is the largest rooftop plant in terms of capacity in the national capital region. DMRC plans to expand such installations to other stations in order to meet its requirements and reduce its carbon footprint. In Bihar, Patna has the world’s biggest off-grid solar...

Ugly sins of Kanpur

Tuesday, July 22, 2014
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Ganges river and traditional Hindu Swastik, symbolises how the river is worshipped in India. Source:  Nilesh Shintre/Wikimedia

In 1801, a city was born on the banks of the oldest and purest river of India- Ganga. The city went by the name of Cawnpore back then. Untouched by the cruel hands of industrialisation, the people prayed and used the pious river in minimal ways. There was an order, and it was good. It is not good now. It has been more than two hundred years and the city stands as the largest in the state, second largest in northern India. But all this...

Turtle relocation or turtle poaching plan?

Saturday, January 18, 2014
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Sarnath turtle

Rajkumar needs no urging to talk about Sundari. She is evidently a favourite of his. When we met, he regaled me with stories of her beauty, her smartness and her incredibly sweet nature. When he finally brought her out to meet me, I failed to see any signs of a winning personality or of towering intelligence. "Well," I rebuked myself, "you've only met her for two minutes. Rajkumar knows her since she was an egg." The Sarnath turtle hatchery...

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