Forging ties



Informing people
Water play
The facilitator
Water Gala

Faulty perceptions
Thirst rises, patience evaporates


Eviction ordered
Join the BIG fight
Citizens pick up cudgels
Solar lakes

South India: Searching for an identity
Thailand: Then came progress....


An eye opener
Naudihi’s revival
Tankas of Badi Ghodan


Sri Aurobindo Ashram’s system


Rice husk ash filter
Clay pot irrigation


Sachidanand Bharti
Madhu Bhatnagar


Naullahs of Kumaon


Kerala, building up its jalanidhi
Schemes or scams?


Saving lives
Rain associations


Drop by drop
Water scramble


Oxfam and water



100 promises, deadline 2006
The landmarks
Changing currents







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Vol. 5                                          No. 2                          April-May 2003

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Eviction ordered!

On April 21, 2003, the Supreme Court (SC) directed the Kolkata High Court (HC) to take immediate steps to evict squatters around Rabindra sarobar (RS). This order follows a public interest litigation filed by Howarh Gantantrik Nagarik Samiti in June 1997, to protect RS from decay due to encroachment. A bench comprising — Justice NS Hegde and Justice BPSingh deliberated on an appeal filed by the central government. It challenged the HC’s decision to provide civic facilities to the squatters instead of asking them to leave the area.

SC order has evoked criticism. "The order applies to the residents of Gobindapur Railway Colony (GRC), which is located adjacent to RS. But it says nothing about the people from the other slums like Mollahati and Mutiapara, who are also using RS’s water", said a concerned resident. Sukhendusekhar Ray from Ekata, a local NGO, calling it an unfortunate decision asks, "Why does this eviction order just includes the slum dwellers. There are private clubs within RS, which regularly discharge waste into the sarobar, but no one seems to question their actions, as a number of celebrities are its members."

Can these eviction orders restrict the entry of pollutants in RS? Not many agree!

Join the BIG fight

M K Balakrishnan, an advocate, has filed a public interest litigation in the Supreme Court of India to protect all the waterbodies in the country. In this context, he needs your assistance. If you have any information that could strengthen this case, share it — and, save your own waterbodies from decay.

Write to him, at: M KBalakrishnan, 37 Lawyer’s Chamber,
Supreme Court, New Delhi 110001
Tel: 230 70449 (lounge);
E Mail: scisaran@nda.vsnl.net.in

Citizens pick up cudgels

On December 20, 2002, the resident welfare association (RWA) of F, M and N blocks in Naveen Shahdara, Delhi, filed a public interest litigation (PIL) to restore Seelampur depression I, a local water body. Taking a pro-active stand, the High Court (HC) asked the concerned authority - Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to submit the plan for its revival by August 2003.

Seelampur depression I is an old water body surrounded with a park. The problem however, surfaced in the year 1987. When the ex union minister HKLBhagat, decided to develop the park as a fruit and flower garden. Consequently, the 35 acre park was transferred to the MCD for development that now stands encroached. MCD’s multi-storied zonal office, Delhi Vidyut Board’s ‘33 KVA grid’, private nursery has come up on the lake and the park area. Last year, when MCD decided to fill up the remaining portion of the depression to build Delhi police’s (DP) staff quarters, residents decided to approach the court.

The RWA appealed action against the MCD for willfully violating the HC’s order, while the hearing of another PIL filed by Tapas, an NGO, to protect waterbodies in Delhi in 2000 was in progress. In the Tapas case, the court has clearly directed all the land owning agencies to maintain water bodies, irrespective of their size.

The HC took notice. The bench comprising Chief Justice BCPatel and Justice BDAhmed ordered a restraint on MCD’s actions, as it found the MCD and DP’s claims — conflicting. MCD maintained that "the lake is in its possession". Whereas, the DP said that "this land has been allotted by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) for residential construction". In this regard, the court deliberated on the question that "if Seelampur depression is a water body, can it be allotted or leased out?" While drawing upon sub section (1) of section 2 of the DDA act and a number of other judgments, the bench clarified that "rivers, ponds, water bodies are not included in land as they are to be preserved as water bodies". The HC asked, "How can DDA lease out? When they know better than the petitioner regarding the Master Plan".

The sustainable conservation of the lake has been ensured, as the citizens pick up the cudgels. For details: Alok Kumar; Tel:23943161

Solar lakes

The international foundation Global Nature Fund (GNF) has initiated solar lake campaign to protect the climate in the lake regions. Along with regional environmental organisations, it is promoting the use of solar technologies like emission free boats and eco-camping in the lake zone of 19 European countries. These steps aim at reducing pollution while adding economic value to the entire region.

At Lake Constance, solar powerboats have been successfully operating for pleasure, natural excursions and research purposes. These vessels harness energy from photovoltaic cells and have the capacity to carry four to 120 people. Kopf AG, a commercial enterprise and the financial partner of GNF has undertaken the responsibility of constructing such boats.

Similarly, between the Swiss and German border of Lake Constance, the solar passenger ferry HELIO is plying. Further, at different camping sites around localised lakes solar panels have been installed for electricity generation. To popularise such initiatives among its members, GNF plans to hold a competition. It will bring some of the significant works on the forefront — encouraging wide scale replication of the technique. The era of living with lakes has begun!


Copyright CSE  Centre for Science and Environment