Interlinking of Rivers

Polavaram -linking Godavari and Krishna

Posted by Susan Sharma on December 12, 2005

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The report prepared by the NWDA(National Water Development Agency) on the 174km Polvarm link,  is available at the following link ( Please cut and paste in your browser)

Chapter 14 of the report talks about the environmental and ecological impact of the project. The Polavaram reservoir submerges an area of 63,691 ha comprising of 60,063 ha in Andhra Pradesh, 2,398 ha in Chattisgarh and 1,230 ha in Orissa. Out of the total submergence area, the area under cultivation is about 30,650 ha and the forest area 3,705 ha. It is obvious that the project involves the displacement of a huge agricultural population most of them from Andhra.

To quote the report

"The main purpose of the Polavaram project is to provide water for irrigation to the ayacut upstream of the Godavari barrage, to supply drinking water to the Visakhapatnam steel plant and also to provide water to the chronic drought prone Cheepurupalle tract in which the manganese belt is situated ...........

"Submergence of forest area may have environmental and ecological impact: Proper Environmental Management Plan (EMP) will be evolved to reduce the impact on the environment due to the project. Also, to minimise the loss of forest additional afforestation programme will be taken up. Necessary provision has been made in the estimate for compensatory afforestation".

"The prospects of submergence leading to loss of homes and means of sustenance will have a traumatic effect on the affected population. The problems relating to resettlement and rehabilitation (R & R) are quite complex. It is essential that the contents of R & R package should be very attractive".

"A total of 16207 families are likely to be affected due to creation of Polavaram reservoir. These families would need to be resettled in different villages in the nearby areas. To avoid dispute and problems, the selection of suitable agricultural land in the command area and its division into required sizes and its distribution by draw of lot with the control of a High Level Committee comprising senior officers of concerned departments should be performed. In the case of Polavaram-Vijayawada link project, 30650 ha of culturable area is coming under the submergence of the proposed reservoir at Polavaram. Therefore, at least an equivalent area of land has to be acquired, suitably in the command area of the project for encouraging to carry out the normal agricultural activities by the affected families".

E-Governance for Conservation

Every Village a Knowledge Centre, etc

Posted by Amin Adatia on December 12, 2005

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I am not sure I would be in favour of reducing the number of people "dependent" on the Farm. One thing about a Farm is that it provides for the ability to grow "personal use" crops and hence the required nutrition and a very high degree of self-esteem. I would not want to be in the situation of my grandfather who had to see his family disperse because the Farm could not support the family.

You can get the GDP and the Per Capita figures to be whatever you want. I am not sure if there is a value in the GDP for "3 meals a day for the family" as opposed to homeless existence in the "City".

Multi-Media enabled cyber-cafe in a village sounds like a good idea for providing the environment for knowledge transfer. Instead of just looking for cyber-cafe entrepreneurs, perhaps we should also look at small trades people who would support the "machineary of the Farm and village".



A new carnivore?

Posted by Susan Sharma on December 11, 2005

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After the discovery of hundreds of new species of frogs in the rainforests of SriLanka in 2002, it is the turn of the rainforests of Borneo to come up with surprises.

WWF researchers may have discovered a new, mysterious carnivore species in Borneo. The animal, a mammal slightly larger than a domestic cat with dark red fur and a long, bushy tail, was photographed twice by a camera trap at night.

Read more on this at the following link ( please cut and paste in your browser)


Incredible Women of Incredible India

Posted by Susan Sharma on December 11, 2005

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India's first women cab service providers cum tourist guides "Project Priyadrashini" launched in Delhi will be a boon for women travellers ensuring that they feel safe and comfortable in the Capital. The project will extend to other cities soon. The drivers are trained guides as well and the the tourist gets a complete value for money package.

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Rajasthan also provides a tour through the park with drivers cum guides - in eco friendly cycle rikshaws. 

E-Governance for Conservation

Every village a knowledge centre

Posted by Susan Sharma on December 10, 2005

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Amin: They say the world has a digital divide. In the digital world, there is a further divide-the users and the techies. Take the case of cyber cafes which are the places from where most Indians access the e-mail. The cafe owner takes care of PC upkeep, viruses etc ( He is a techie in his own right!) so the user is free to reap the benfits only- of emails-at a small price for the connect time. It is this user I had in mind when I was talking of empowerment.

I cannot agree more with you about the impact of the moving picture in spreading any kind of awareness. I am a film maker myself. I make films when I feel a strong need to communicate - like some would write articles or books. So, the knowledge centre at the village must be a multimedia machine, capable of showing films, apart from storing data, communicating etc.

Coming back to our original topic of creating entrepreneurs at the village centre through e-governance. Allow me to quote Mr. Narayanmurthy, Chairman Infosys

“ About 650 million people live in the villages, and agriculture accounts for 26% of India’s GDP, which is about $162 billion. Divide $162 billion by 650 million, you get about $250 each. That is one-third the per capita income of India, which is about $700. You could try increasing the productivity of India’s farm sector so it shoots up to about $ 1 trillion, but that’s a really tough task. Conversely, we could reduce the number of people dependent on agriculture, let’s say make it 450 million, and simultaneously raise farm output to around $350 billion. This too would significantly raise per capita income, and it is far more manageable.”

But is it really manageable if we let “natural forces” to take charge? Faced by failed agriculture incomes, people are migrating to nearby cities in uncontrolled and mismanaged numbers. Creating knowledge centres in the villages will tempt the new job seekers to stay back and become cyber entrepreneurs.

Film Reviews- Wildlife, Nature and Environment

Requesting all members to write reviews

Posted by Susan Sharma on December 10, 2005

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Every year thousands of well researched, poignant and informative documentaries are made on environment and nature related issues. Sadly these films are hardly seen by the public at large, since TV channels / theatres do not air them. As part of our efforts to give better visibility to these films we have been publishing synopsis of these films at

But the impact of films is best described by the viewers, for whom they are meant. Festival screenings and reviews tend to be more on the film-making aspects and less on content. But many of us, who continue to make environment/wildlife films despite all odds, do so because we believe that a picture speaks a thousand words. With dwindling wildlife species and diminishing forests threatening the basics of life like water and pure air, it is high time we spoke in thousands of words at a time rather than a few words at a time.

Some of you might have seen at least a few of the films listed on our site. This is an appeal to all to write reviews for the films they have seen and upload them at

under the topic" Film Reviews" As a member of you can upload your views at our weblog unedited by us. However, unrelated reviews/content will be deleted by us. 

E-Governance for Conservation

Village Empowerment

Posted by Amin Adatia on December 07, 2005

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Susan I am not sure about the empowering impact of an e-mail becuase the reality these days is the spam that comes with an e-mail access. Empowerment would come from seeing and watching how other people in the world do the same things. I remember a story where a person was trying to show the value of a brrom with a long handle as opposed to the hand-held bunch of "twigs". It was only by seeing the "advantage" of the broom did the change happen.

E-Governance for Conservation

Every village a knowledge centre

Posted by Susan Sharma on December 07, 2005

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Amin: You are very correct about what sustainable development means at the village level. Namely, that the village has an assured supply of good food and water, has "jobs" that give a sense of achievement, has safety for its people (as opposed to being subjected to "mafia style" terror) and the absence of the sterotypical landlord :), access to education and freedom to study, etc.

You asked “Do you think having a computer will provide that? Well , provided we have the power back ups in place, a computer can provide knowledge and movies. Knowledge in the village context is certainly not programming knowledge-but market quotes, weather forecasts, local news etc.

The small act of being able to send an email to a distant relative empowers the villager. It is the very basic services a computer can provide that can make a difference. The villager is capable of finding his own water and food, as long as the exploiters are kept at bay. E-governance in India has to mean e-democracy- that is inclusive governance. Many of us here believe it can happen.

E-Governance for Conservation

Re:Every Village a Knowledge Centre

Posted by Amin Adatia on December 02, 2005

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It all depends on what you mean by a knowledge centre in a village. The computer can facilitate the "deployment" of a knowledge centre but having one is not really necessary. The keyword is Knowledge and the focus seems to be the mechanism with no assurance that "knowledge" will be available.

Ability to write virus/worms and then deploying these is demonstration of programming skills but is it making use of the programming knowledge?

I am still wondering, sitting here in Canada, if the promise, I had heard when I was living in Uganda, of a well (or was it running water) in every village has been fulfilled. I know that by 1991 April, there was no sewer system in every village.

Sustainable development. How do we achieve that? Besides what does it really mean at the village level? The village has an assured supply of good food and water, has "jobs" that give a sense of achievement, has safety for its people (as opposed to being subjected to "mafia style" terror) and the absence of the sterotypical landlord :), access to education and freedom to study, etc. Do you think having a computer will provide that?

What might work better, for knowledge transfer, is the old style weekly village movie/newsreel in the field (or was it under the mango tree?).

Even though I work in IT, I do not think that IT will actually solve societal problems or actually is useful in transfering knowledge to "everyone". So far it has failed in improving much of what ails society and has actually made things worse. There is lots of data available but knowledge comes from being able to interpret which needs an ability (and freedom) to think. So to actually put a computer in every village and maybe create a centre would be possible by 2007. Just divert some of the money from the Nuclear weapons program  for maybe two weeks and you will have it.

600,000 computers at $500 = $300 million if I were to buy them here in Canada. The Canadian Government just spent $250 million on an inquiry on corruption in Government. I do not know the cost of the building the facility in each village but you do not need a "CEO of Tata office" for this. Maybe a valuable by-product of this endeavour would be provision of reliable electricity supply to support the knowledge centre -- and perhaps to the rest of the village.


National Bio-Diversity Action Plan

Posted by Susan Sharma on November 25, 2005

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"It is a much-ignored reality that tens of millions of people in India still survive on the biodiversity of forests, seas, wetlands, grasslands, mountains and coasts. The true value of these ecosystems and the species of plants and animals they contain is not reflected anywhere in parameters of development like Gross National Product."

 It is unfortunate that the National Bio-Diversity Action Plan drawn up by the Ministry of Environment and Forests with the assistance of Kalpavriksh, an NGO and Biotech Consortium India Ltd,  is creating controversies and delaying the much needed action.


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