Interlinking of Rivers

220 villages to be submerged

Posted by Susan Sharma on April 03, 2006

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Above is a site where you may send a free fax to the Prime Minister to save 35,000 families from submergence without rehabilitation in the coming monsoon by STOPPING the SSP dam from going up to 121 m as passed by the Narmada Control Authority in March.



Any other

Lions and Tigers re:

Posted by Jason Anthony Fisher on March 30, 2006

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Thanks so much to Raghavendra Rao for the insight about my questions on Lions and Tigers. I'm sorry I haven't been back on this site for months, but I greatly appreciate the answer. Many thanks to you.

I think it's awesome that both Tigers and Lions have great respect and religious reverence there in India. I hope in your country that wildlife habitat and all the wonderful species can be saved and some like the Cheetah can be reintroduced.

Your nation has the tough task of keeping the economy going and providing needs for the growing population. I see similar conflicts of interest in the United States. In our world there seems to be more people with respect to money ($$$) than the environment. And my country has done more than it's share of destruction of natural areas.


Interlinking of Rivers

Paper presented at Coimbatore Institute of Technology

Posted by Susan Sharma on March 17, 2006

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There is a thought provoking article on riverlinking by Atma Bharati at the following link. It is worth spending time to read it.


E-Governance for Conservation

Pedal-powered computing initiative

Posted by Susan Sharma on March 08, 2006

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This article appeared in

The article details an initiative launched in February 2003 in Phon Kham, a village in the jungles of northern Laos: a human-powered computer called the Jhai Computer (Jhai means hearts and minds working together in Laotian).

 A villager on a stationary bicycle will make it possible for the village to connect to the Internet via wireless remote. The idea is to provide communication, because every day they sell their ducks, rice, weaving and chickens, and sell for less money than they should because they can't know the real price down in the towns.

Organisers claim that this project is unique in that it relies on simple materials like foot pedals and wireless antennas rather than high-tech devices (or even electricity). All 200 residents of Phon Kham live in bamboo houses with thatch roofs, none of which have electricity or telephone access.

Laos is the 10th-poorest country worldwide. The bike-pedaled generator will power a battery that in turn runs the computer, which sits in an 8-by-10-inch box. The computer will run on only 12 watts (compared to a typical computer's 90 watts). A wireless card (an 802.11b, the current industry standard) will be hooked up to an antenna bolted on the roof of a bamboo house; the signal will be beamed from there to an antenna nailed to a tree on top of a mountain. The signal will be bounced to Phon Hong, which sits 25 miles from Phon Kham and is the nearest big village with phone lines. The phone lines then hook to an Internet service provider. The Jhai runs on Linux software.

 A Laotian IBM engineer in New York to customised the software to the Lao language. The Internet connection will enable the Jhai Computer to be used not only for e-mail, but also as a two-way telephone system (through Voice Over Internet Protocol, or VOIP). It has no moving parts, the lid seals up tight, and you can dunk it in water and it will still run...

The idea is to be rugged, last at least 10 years and run in both the monsoon season and the dry season.

E-Governance for Conservation

IT for Social Change

Posted by Susan Sharma on March 08, 2006

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‘IT for Social Change’ (IT4SC), a network idea by Anil Shaligram who used to run a DTP centre in Maharashtra, is being implemented by him in the State.

His strategy is to conduct community IT literacy campaigns, set up IT Centers in localities. Through village network he plans to collect basic relevant data and contents on various issues, computerize these and use it for analysis, dissemination and broadcasting.

The first Social Process Software that uses these data for analysis and resolution of community problems has been developed called Domestic Women Workers’ Software Tool and it is being used by domestic worker's unions. In addition to employment issues and domestic women workers from cities and towns, they have also taken up the issues of sanitation and water conservation in villages, public distribution system, public health, poverty related issues, destitute people's pensions the next software application.

Anil also writes about how the grass root movement is being led by youth. In Beed District youth lead IT driven rainwater harvesting and water management. In Parbhani they use IT to guarantee employment to communities. In New Mumbai, they are exercising right to information and communication using internet to win a participation in developmental process. In Satara, IT has become integral part of their education and cultural activism.

 Anil envisages that the concept of IT for Social Change (IT4SC) will become a major Social Sectoral concept and 21st century is going to be a Networking Society and Knowledge Society. This IT enabled community based concept is going to play a major role in the formation and constitution of that society. It can also be a CONVERGING SOCIETY in which organizational solutions like IT4SC will emerge by which backward communities can catch up with the advanced communities by using advance knowledge and technologies to usher into an egalitarian world community.

Anil can be contacted at

Interlinking of Rivers

Peninsular Component

Posted by Susan Sharma on March 06, 2006

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  1. Mahanadi-Godavari
  2. Godavari-Krishna ( 3 sites)
  3.  Krishna-Pennar ( 3 sites)
  4.  Pennar-Cauvery
  5.  Cauvery-Vagai-Gundar
  6.  Ken-Betwa
  7.  Parbati-Kalisindh-Chambal
  8.  Par-Tapi-Narmada
  9.  Damanganga-Pinjal
  10.  Bedti-Varda
  11.  Netravati-Hemavati
  12.  Pamba-Achankovil-Vaippar

(Source-The Hindu)

Interlinking of Rivers

Himalayan component

Posted by Susan Sharma on March 06, 2006

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  1. Brahmputra-Ganga
  2. Kosi-Ghagra
  3. Gandak-Ganga
  4.  Ghagra-Yamuna
  5.  Sarda-Yamuna
  6.  Yamuna-Rajasthan
  7.  Rajasthan-Sabarmati
  8.  Chunar-Sone Barrage
  9.  Sone Dam-Southern tributaries of Ganga
  10.  Brahmaputra-Ganga
  11.  Kosi-Mechi
  12.  Farakka-Sunderbans
  13.  Ganga-Damodar-Subernrekha
  14.  Subernrekha-Mahanadi

( Source-The Hindu)


Bio Diversity of Uttaranchal

Posted by Susan Sharma on March 01, 2006

Forum Post

The renowned biologist A.J.T Johnsingh suggests that the forests of Uttaranchal can easily support about 1000 elephants and 200 tigers as long as this large habitat, now fragmented in three blocks is managed and protected as one continuous habitat for wildlife.

We have uploaded his report " A Road Map for Conservation in Uttaranchal" at the following link

Since this is a pdf file, downloading will take some time. But I can assure you it is well worth the wait. Mr. Johnsingh is an academic who is well versed with grassroot level realities and I have heard him passionately pleading the cause of conservation - repeatedly stressing the need for field level awareness before taking up conservation issues.

Any other

Man Elephant Conflict

Posted by Susan Sharma on March 01, 2006

Forum Post

Ankur Chaturvedi's article on human elephant conflict has been published at the following link


Please read and post your comments in the blog.

Interlinking of Rivers

A new study says that river-linking will affect monsoons in the country

Posted by Susan Sharma on February 12, 2006

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This warning was issued in an article published in the January 10, 2006 issue of the journal, Current Science. The report, an outcome of a one-day meeting of scientists from a few premier research institutes of the country, suggests that the reduced runoff from some rivers targeted by interlinking — a sure consequence of the project — could adversely affect the amount, duration and spatial distribution of monsoon rainfall received by most regions in India.

Unlike other oceans, the Bay of Bengal maintains a low-salinity layer whose thickness varies between 10 and 20 metres during different periods of the year. This low-salinity region, spread over a third of the Bay of Bengal, owes itself to the runoff from some of the rivers targeted by the interlinking project, and plays a critical role in sustaining monsoon rainfall in major parts of the country. The region is a prime reason for India receiving nearly 4 per cent of the global precipitation, even though it occupies only 2.45 per cent of the earth’s terrestrial surface. India receives about 70 per cent of its annual precipitation from the summer monsoon.

Interlinking will upset this If the proposal takes effect, humongous amounts of water from the Ganga, Brahmaputra and Mahanadi river systems, that today flow into the Bay of Bengal, will be redirected to the water scarce regions in southern and western parts of the country. Scientists, however, feel that the government has ignored larger questions while pushing the project.

“The project should have been taken up only after carrying out a rigorous scientific study, employing proper modelling and simulation experiments,” says V Rajamani, professor of geology at the New Delhi-based Jawaharlal Nehru University one of the authors of the Current Science report. On Rajamani’s insistence, the Bangalore-based Indian Academy of Sciences organised the meet, which led to the Current Science article.

The participants included U C Mohanty of Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, R Ramesh of Ahmedabad-based Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Prasanna Kumar of National Institute of Oceanography, R K Kolli of Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, and G S Bhat and other scientists of the Indian Institute of Science Bangalore (IISC). Also present was another scientist from the iisc, P N Vinayachandran who, in 2002, had collaborated with two scientists of the National Institute of Oceanography in Journal of Geophysical Research article, which showed for the first time that freshwater inputs from river runoff are critical to the Bay of Bengal’s low-salinity layer.

The meeting deliberated upon the existing knowledge on the Bay of Bengal and its land-atmosphere linkages. The participants noted, “The estimated freshwater influxes into the Bay of Bengal from local precipitation and through river discharge are 4,700 and 3,000 billion cubic metre (bcm) per year respectively. The Bay loses only 3600 bcm per year. Thus, its annual freshwater input far exceeds the loss due to evaporation. This makes the Bay relatively less saline compared to other oceans.” Says Rajamani, this also helps the ocean maintain its low salinity area, and in turn influence the monsoon rainfall in most parts of the country. How? The density of seawater increases with salinity. The Bay of Bengal’s low-salinity zone is therefore a layer of less dense water that floats above denser waters below. Scientifically referred to as stratified layering, the phenomenon prevents mixing of surface water and the cooler waters below. Solar energy gets trapped in the top 10-20 metre-thick non-saline layer, keeping the sea surface temperature (sst) higher than other oceans. This is critical for rainfall.

According to meteorologists, low pressure formation that causes monsoon begins at 28° c but peaks at 29° C. But while other oceans, including the Arabian Sea, take almost a month to increase their sst by 1° c, the corresponding time required by the Bay of Bengal is just 4 to 5 days. Its warmer low-salinity zone enables the Bay of Bengal to effect this temperature change, faster. This is very significant, considering that even small changes in the sst influence rainfall. “This relation between the low-salinity layer in the Bay of Bengal and the monsoon rainfall was established scientifically during Bay of Bengal Monsoon Experiment in 1999,” says Vinayachandran.

More evidence Scientists also say that global circulation model studies have shown that its low-salinity zone also helps the Bay of Bengal retain freshwater from the river discharge closer to the coastal region during the monsoon period. And, then around the beginning October every year, when the monsoon withdraws, this water flows along the coast of India and around Sri Lanka into the southeastern Arabian Sea; here it plays a vital role in warming of the Arabian Sea during the pre-monsoon months. “This clearly shows that the effects of the rivers that originate in the Himalayas are not just local, but spread out over a large area on an annual scale,” the Current Science article observes.

Other impacts Says R Ramesh, a biological oceanographer with prl, the disappearance of the low-salinity region can lead to an increase in marine phytoplankton population. Currently this layer prevents vertical mixing of water between the rivers dense and rare zone, and this in turn inhibits supply of nutrients from below, restricting phytoplankton growth. The Bay of Bengal does have an abundance of phytoplankton, but the productivity of these creatures is only one-fourth of that found in the Arabian Sea. Increased phytoplankton population might lead to a growth in the Bay’s population. Scientists fear that this fecundity would work to the ocean’s detriment. Rains at bay The planktons will take away lots of oxygen from the Bay and will lead to the development of the oxygen minimum zone, just as in the Arabian Sea. Oxygen dependent bacteria would be replaced by nitorgen dependent ones, causing denitrification — the release of nitrogen oxide into the atmosphere. Nitrogen oxide is 20 times more potent greenhouse gas. Scientists have other worries. Says Rajamani, the country’s coastal ecology will be completely altered after the construction of more than 250 mega dams envisaged by the river linking project.

“In normal course, nature maintains equilibrium by constantly replenishing delta regions with sediments to offset those taken away by the sea or lost due to subduction. But the dams will reduce or even stop the supply of sediments from rivers and this in turn will accelerate sea erosion in the deltas,” he apprehends. The sea erosion triggered by dams was best documented by a team of researchers in the Andhra University, Visakhapatanam in a 2004 Current Science paper (See “Sea change”, Down To Earth, December 15, 2004). The scientists led by Kakani Nageswara Rao of the geo-engineering department of the university found the fertile delta region lost 18 sq km between 1976-2001 as a series of dams built on the river Godavari river and its tributaries blocked sediment flow.

Rajamani and other contributors to the Current Science article have called for more research to assess the impacts of river linking. The potential consequences of the project inferred in the report are based on existing knowledge on the Bay of Bengal. “There is a definite need to create more credible datasets on land, ocean and atmosphere so that simulation models can be prepared,” they argue. This will help establish the relation between the runoff input to the Bay of Bengal and the monsoons. more accurately. Significantly, currently no official data is available on how much water or at what rate water from these rivers will be diverted as part of the river linking project.

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