Rajasthan Expert Committee’s policy guidelines for uninterrupted flow of water in rivers and their tributaries, which have been badly affected by urbanization and development works. Recommendations include technical and policy guidelines for uninterrupted flow of water.
Yogesh Chandra Agrawal
lake, reservoir, catchment areas, high court, drainage channels
During the hearing of “Public Interest Litigation”, on dated 18 th July 2003, the Rajasthan High Court, issued an order to the Government of Rajasthan to constitute an Expert Committee to identify the catchment areas which have been used for construction, mining and other purposes; and to suggest measures for restoring the catchment areas to their original shape and use. The Government of Rajasthan constituted a four member Expert Committee. The committee framed a tour programme to visit lakes, mining areas, tanks, ponds, embankments, drainage channels to appraise itself about the ground realities. The committee discussed the matter with the government officials, NGO’s and local people. The State Remote Sensing Application Centre Jodhpur was requested for catchment characterization using satellite imageries. District Level Expert Committees were formed and report of obstructions in each district was received from these district level committees. At some places, proper drainage crossing in embankments, residential colonies and other construction activities have not been provided to allow free and uninterrupted flow of water in drainage channels. Untreated domestic waste, industrial waste and other wastes are coming in water storage bodies. Mining has adversely affected the water resources. All land shown as drainage channels like rivers, tributaries, small natural drainage channels etc. as on 15.8.1947 should be declared as Govt. land. Demarcation of catchment areas and drainage channels should be done. Obstructions in the free flow of water in drainage channels should be removed. The government should specify places for dumping various types of waste material. On the periphery of lakes, ponds, water bodies in urban and rural areas, a masonry or concrete drain should be constructed on periphery of the water body to prevent entry of domestic, industrial and other waste in the water body.
The Expert Committee has made recommendations for the Rajasthan state in India. But it is applicable for every river including its tributaries throughout the world.
Rajasthan (India) High Court initiated the project by directing the Governemt of Rajasthan state of India, to constitute an Expert Committee to identify the catchment areas which have been used for construction, mining and other purposes; and to suggest measures for restoring the catchment areas to their original shape and use. Stake holders are (1 ) Government of Rajasthan, ( 2 ) appellants ( 3 ) Rajasthan High Court ( 4 ) The recommendations of the expert committee
The Rajasthan High Court is regularly watching the progress of implementation of recommendations of the committee, particularly unauthorized and illegal construction in natural drainage channels like rivers. The unauthorized and illegal construction in the catchment of the Ramgarh dam in particular near state capital Jaipur, are being removed by the government. The committees including officials of various departments are visiting the catchment areas, obstructions are being identified and are being removed by the Government officials. The demolitions will be done next week. Then the catchment areas will be marked by providing boundary stones. The other recommendations of the committee as narrated in the paper will be implemented thereafter.
The key question is that the catchment areas are being used for construction of residential colonies, dumping of all types of waste, putting barriers across rivers and their tributaries, unplanned mining operations, etc resulting in no water in many dams particularly near cities. the village ponds are fast disappearing due to construction of residential colonies and other uses in pond land. The recommendations of the committee chaired by me, when fully implemented, will ensure free and unpolluted flow of water in rivers and their tributaries. lakes, village ponds. This unpolluted water will be available for human use particularly poor people, animals and birds. The recommendations are self explanatory.
The solution’s key output are free and unpolluted flow of water in rivers and their tributaries, in lakes, village ponds and other water bodies. My solutions will increase input of unpolluted water in water bodies, thereby increasing availability of water for human, animal and birds. Availability of water for drinking, agriculture and other uses will also increase without any extra recurring cost. The ground water table will rise, thereby ensuring more water in wells. Yes my solutions will continue to deliver tangible and sustainable impacts on the long term.
Qualitative and quantitative indicators of success over time are below
( 1) Increase in input of water in dams, lakes, village ponds, ther water bodies
( 2) Flow and storage of unpolluted water in streams and water bodies
( 3 ) Rise in ground water table
( 4 ) Decrease in water born diseases’s patients in hospitals
( 5 ) Early start of mining operations in mines
( 6 ) redution in land required for mining waste
( 7 ) Increase in agriculture production
( 8 ) Increase in number of tourists at dams and lakes
( 9 ) Increase in other activities which reduced or stopped due to shortage of water
The general public specially poor, backward and downtrodden people, animals, birds, will benefit and be interested in this solution. The increase in easy and cheap availability of safe, unpolluted water will benefit them. Every where and in every country this solution is applicable and work best. But in densely populated areas, cities, towns, areas near mines, quarries, near lakes and reservoirs this will work best. The reasons are ( 1 ) densely populates areas , big cities, small cities, require more land for housing and commercial operations, causing construction activities in natural water channels , rivers and their tributaries, ponds and reservoirs. ( 2 ) Mining operations require deep excavations. During rainy season, mines gets filled in and after rainy season to start mining activities, pumping out of water from mines is required , causing delay in start of mining operations and lowering down of water table. ( 3 ) densely populated cities require more roads, more railway tracks, which obstruct free and unpolluted flow of water in drainge channels like rivers and their tributaries.
The persons/ agencies/ organizations should first read the Expert Committee’s recommendations. They should get satellite imagery of their areas as on today and previous period. If possible, photographs of the affected land be taken to prepare topographic maps of scale say 1 in 5000 or so, be prepared to impose upon village maps and to see the encroachments on land marked as natural drainage channel. Also the village maps and topographical maps as now and 50 to 100 years back, be obtained. The land use record as on today and 50 to 100 years back should be obtained. The past record of water received in dams, reservoirs and village ponds should be obtained. The land use say about 50 years back should be studied and land marked for drainage channels like rivers, etc should be marked on maps. Any structures constructed on land marked for natural drainage should be removed or if it is not possible , then diversion channel should be constructed.The capacity of cross drainage works across roads, railways , etc constructed on drainage channels , should be calculated and if needed these cross drainage works be removed / modified. The political, social, judicial commitment is necessary before starting any solution. Depending upon the encroachments, desired interventions and improvements required, one to three years will be required. The officials of different departments will be involved in identification of problems in free flow of water and their solution. The machinery will be required for demolishing the unauthorised structures. However roughly 1 to 100 million dollar may be required depending upon the size of the area in which operations are to be started. The main factors are uninterrupted flow of unpolluted water in drainage channels and filling of water storage structures to the designed levels.
The Government of Rajasthan as directed by the Rajasthan High Court is committed for implementation of the recommendations of Expert Committee. The government of Rajasthan has started action to implement the reportand encroachments on drainage channels are being removed.
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I will send the pictures of encroachment on river feeding Raj Samand dam in Rajasthan and decision of Rajasthan high court