IAS/PCS Current Affairs:--
Population no hurdle
Interestingly, population has not posed an impediment to Sikkim, a State with a population of around 6,00,000 and Andhra Pradesh that has a population of 84 million. Further, most States that have recorded high levels of saturation include high per capita income States, among them Delhi, Goa and Sikkim. Eight States which record a saturation rate of less than 10 per cent include Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jammu and Kashmir. All these States have per capita income (per capita State domestic product) lower than the national average of Rs. 68,757 in 2012-13. Additionally, according to the Human Development Report 2011, Bihar, U.P., Chhattisgarh ranked lowest on the Human Development Index.
Ageing dams not being decommissioned, reveals International Rivers report
A report by International Rivers, an NGO campaigning against destructive dam projects worldwide, has highlighted the absence of policies regarding decommissioning of old dams in India. “Ageing dams are a serious concern in India. The report reviews the lifecycle of dams and its relation to the safety of the riverine system and downstream areas. These concerns should be introduced in mainstream policy debates,” said Bharat Lal Seth, South Asia Program Coordinator, International Rivers. ‘Dam Planning under the Spotlight: A Guide to Dam Sanctioning in India’, has reintroduced the debate around decommissioning of old dams which, it says, is crucial for restoration of damaged ecology. Dams have a lifespan which, according to the U.S., is between 30 and 50 years. After completing their lifespan, dams have to be evaluated to check whether they need to be decommissioned. India with more than 5,100 large dams is the world’s third largest dam builder. Dam decommissioning for the Mullaperiyar dam in Kerala and the Dumbur dam in Tripura has garnered much attention. The International Rivers report states: ‘Estimates reveal that [in India] around 100 large dams are more than 100 years old and more than 400 large dams between 50 and 100 years.’ Urmi Bhattacharjee, the author of the report states: ‘The Central Water Commission (CWC) and the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) are of the opinion that a dam is a permanent structure that does not need to be decommissioned, even though many old dams have developed leaks and fissures.’ Ms. Bhattacharjee told The Hindu that in reply to an RTI application filed in October 2012 regarding information on the dams that need to be decommissioned, the CEA had said : ‘There is no information available on dams that need to be decommissioned.’
Dam decommissioning in the U.S.
The reply also stated: ‘There is no information on when a dam is considered fit for decommissioning.’ CWC officials in the dams and research wing said decommissioning is not feasible since it is not cost-effective, Ms. Bhattacharjee added. While at the international level, dam decommissioning is already underway and attempts to revive riverine ecology and farming, it remains to be an unexplored area in India. Another report released in 2013 called ‘(Planning for) Dam Decommissioning as an Environmental Priority’ mentions that around 1,000 dams in the U.S. have been decommissioned so far. The report, authored by Dr. Latha Anantha who is a member of River Research Centre, Kerala, states that economic and dam security reasons as well as ecosystem restoration are among the major reasons for which dam decommissioning should be considered important. As dams grow old, the cost of repair increases. Dr. Anantha mentions that when cost of repairs exceeds the earnings from the power produced by the dam, then decommissioning should be given a serious thought.
Tiger census from November 17
The synchronised phase one data collection for tiger census will begin simultaneously in the four Southern States – Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka – on November 17. The data of the tiger census would be released by December 2014. The population of tigers in the country increased from 1,411 in 2006 to 1,706 in 2010.
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