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India Roundup: China Criticized over Info-block, Brahmaputra Treaty Urged, India and US “Sabotage” Indus Treaty?, Dam Protest Violence Warning, Kerala/Tamil Nadu, Karnataka/Telangana, Sustainable Sugar Initiative and More

WARRENTON VA, United States

India Criticizes China Over Block on Info

At a time when major rivers in Himachal Pradesh are in spate due to heavy rain, lack of information from China on water inflow from the Pareechu rivulet that flows through the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) has prompted India’s Central Water Commission (CWC) to seek intervention of the ministry of water resources (Hindustan Times). A flooded Pareechu, a tributary of the Sutlej, wreaked havoc in the state in 2005, causing flooding and huge loss of property. Currently, the Sutlej is flowing above danger mark. India and China annually renew their protocol on sharing information on two major rivers — Brahmaputra and Sutlej. But China has reportedly stopped sharing information with India on water inflow in Pareechu.

Bilateral Treaty Urged for Brahmaputra

A bilateral treaty between China and India for sharing Brahmaputra river water is described as “the need of the hour” by The Assam Tribune. “There should not be any hysteria on the part of India, but it should effectively push for a bilateral agreement with China on this issue. A bilateral agreement is the only recourse to safeguard riparian rights over the Brahmaputra”.

There is concern over China’s plans for the sharp U-Turn the river takes before entering India. “This great bend is the deepest and the longest canyon on the earth…(and China has)…been eyeing this part of the river to build a ‘mega’ hydro power project to produce 40,000 MW of power…some Chinese engineers have also been dreaming diversion of water from the (Brahmaputra) to Xinjiang in the arid part of the North-West China through 800-km-long canals and viaducts (a project known as the Grand Western Water Diversion Plan (GWWDP)”.

The article acknowledges India’s own upstream diversion of the Ganga and the Teesta rivers and effects on downstream Bangladesh. Hence, India on its part needs to recognise the right of China, as the first riparian country, to utilize the Yarlung Tsangpo water for power generation, irrigation, water supply etc. The only issue here is how much water China can use. The article suggests that “once countries accept and realize…basic premises and become transparent in their policies, bilateral agreements are feasible based on a shared vision”.

“In this respect…the 1960 Indus Water Treaty (IWT) was developed and signed amidst very adverse relationship between India and Pakistan”.

India and US in "Conspiracy to Sabotage" Indus Treaty?

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, meanwhile, has accused India and the US of being "involved in an international conspiracy to sabotage the Indus Water(s) Treaty" (The Times of India). Regarding the clauses of the Indus Waters Treaty, Khawaja Asif, the Foreign Minister didn't specify how the US and India were involved in a "conspiracy to sabotage" it, just that the international community “has kept Pakistan in the dark about the treaty's clauses”. The accusation came in the aftermath of bilateral talks about the treaty hosted in Washington DC and mediated by the World Bank.

Dam Protesters Fear More Violence

The Saudi Gazette reported 11th August from Delhi that hundreds of protesters demanding better resettlement options for villagers displaced by a dam in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh are bracing for more violence a day after several campaigners were forcibly removed by police. Activists say 40,000 families uprooted by the Sardar Sarovar dam need more time than a court mandated July 31 deadline to leave their homes.

First Post August 14th reported National Congress Party MP Jyotiraditya Scindia warning of agitation if displaced families were not adequately relocated. Scindia alleged that the Madhya Pradesh government had sent 3,000 police personnel to Chikhalda in Dhar district to detain Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar, who was on a hunger strike “seeking a proper rehabilitation of the dam oustees”.

"This action was more barbaric than the atrocities under the British rule. The chief minister (of Madhya Pradesh) should resign for this," he said.

Kerala Seeks Review of Tamil Nadu Agreement

Expressing deep concern over Tamil Nadu’s failure to abide by the inter-State river water sharing agreement under the Parambikulam-Aliyar Project (PAP), the (Kerala) government said August 10th it wanted a review of the pact (The Hindu). This year Tamil Nadu had been diverting water from the Parambikulam dam from August 8, “while denying Kerala its legitimate share of water to the Chittur dam creating parched conditions in Palakkad, affecting farmers”.

Karnataka Releases Water for Telangana

The Karnataka state government agreed August 10th to release 15 tmc of water from Narayanpur reservoirs in view of acute drinking water shortage in neighboring Telangana, especially in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad (Telangana Today).

Alliance for Sustainable Sugar Production

Rabobank and WWF India have launched a partnership with a major Indian sugar producer - EID Parry- to introduce the Decision Support Tool, a data interpretation tool that enables sugar mill managers to practice more sustainable sugar production. The partnership aims to demonstrate sugar production characterized by better water management, more responsible water consumption, a reduced impact on the surrounding ecosystems, lower CO2 emissions and better re-use of residual products (The Economic Times).

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