The Union Creek Journal, December 2014


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I know there are a lot of folks out there who have been waiting very patiently for the sequel to be released. Please accept my apology for the delay and rest assured that I will continue to chip away at the sequel as time allows. Unfortunately, until writing actually pays the bills it has to take a back seat to that which does. On that, everyone except the mass murderers can agree. Unfortunately, the shared vision divides sharply shortly after everyone agrees that we would like to stop mass murder. This is not Utopia. Weapons bans do not contain fairy dust to sprinkle over the populous eradicating undesirable behavior.

If anything, weapons bans do the exact opposite. Allow me to share the work of another writer that addresses, far better than I could, the logical fallacies and statistical inaccuracies at work in the minds of the hoplophobes and gun-haters who want to eviscerate the Bill of Rights:. As we pause to remember the victims of the Newtown, CT shooting and pray for those left behind, let us also pause for a brief history lesson related to mass gun violence and the failure of legislative and regulatory attempts to stop it.

Over the past three decades, the U. Even one shooting is one too many, but in terms of real frequency, the occurrence of mass shootings is quite low. Since the Gun-Free Schools Act of , the preponderance of mass shootings have taken place in gun-free zones. These are the havens of mass murderers.

Of the 54 mass shootings since the Gun-Free Schools Act passed in , 21 were in schools, government buildings, places of worship or other buildings legislatively designated as gun-free zones. Illinois and California with extensive and prohibitive gun ban legislation. Two key pieces of evidence demonstrate this. Second, the period from — , while the ban was in effect, was just as violent, in terms of mass shootings, as were the periods from — and — As we reflect on the loss related to the shooting in Connecticut, my hope is that any discussion of limiting the rights of law-abiding citizens will be met with calm and logic based upon the facts above.

Banning guns is not the answer. The solution will take time, perhaps decades, and will be painful in and of itself. True change never comes easily. They say you can survive three days without water. My tongue is swollen. It feels like I have a dry sponge in my mouth. It was as he passed the police station that the alert probationer spotted him before he wound up detained. Owing to his guilty plea, Billson never had to face a trial but gave testimony against Riede at her trial last August.

By then, she had admitted that she was never tied to that internal fence but continued with her duress defence. Billson wound up with a head sentence of three years, 11 months and a non-parole period of two years. They worked out perfectly. That was the consensus that emerged from a panel discussion with four prominent SA women at the third Police Association industry forum luncheon for last month. The women also agreed, however, that police were widely meeting those expectations. They fronted up to an strong audience in Fenwick Function Centre to tackle the question: You want to be able to keep them safe.

Helen Leake, a producer of critically acclaimed movies such as Wolf Creek 2 and Swerve, told the audience that media and TV portrayals of police came about because of the enormous public interest surrounding the profession. She conceded, however, that there was a chance some movie and TV portrayals of police could lead to unrealistic public expectations.

We need buy-in from other government agencies and the community. Clarke held to the same view about body art as she did in a Police Journal interview Thoroughly impressed with police in February Back then, she said of officers with tattoos: Clarke also hinted that community views surrounding tattoos were rapidly changing.

Leake maintained that it was an issue of officer training. Clarke agreed, and noted that it can cut both ways. It could be a language need. Jo Kruk running the ultra-marathon through the Alps; below: Hankering for another challenge, she signed on to run the annual Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, a km foot race through the Alps in France, Italy and Switzerland. Regarded as one of the toughest marathons in Europe, it involves an elevation gain of around 9, metres. The time limit to finish the race, in which 2, runners competed, was 46 hours.

A super-fit adventurer who weighs just 55kg, Snr Const Kruk, 27, was too well prepared to become one of the 1,plus competitors who pulled out of the gruelling event. She actually ran the last metres with me. We blazed it towards the finish line and I really had to dig deep to keep up. It was the best experience of my life.

She ran the km course in 30 hours, 47 minutes, crossing the finish line in 12th place. Among the injuries she ran with were stress fractures and inflamed tendons, while battling hypothermia. It involves five marathons over five consecutive days in the Namibian dessert. Snr Const Kruk completed the entire marathon in 17 hours, 53 minutes, just two hours behind the winner.

She lost several toenails and suffered bruised feet and general soreness. In the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, she ran with painful tendonitis in her left ankle, plantar fasciitis in her left foot and a swollen tendon in her right foot. Letters to the editor can be sent by: Worthy follow-up story Have just read the August Police Journal. Another very good article After the tragedy written by the editor. I remember how shocked we all were when Michael Nasalik died at such a young age. It is good that the Police Journal has followed up with the story of what has happened to his wife, Sam, since becoming a widow at such a young age with two small children.

You should all be proud of your achievements overseas — no easy feat to be up there with the best. Cannot see direct entry as effective I write to comment on High-ranking police with no experience — a potential disaster Police Journal, August I graduated in and transferred to Prosecution in In , I was on probation for six months before returning to Prosecution.

Those six months were very difficult for me and I felt very ineffective as a patrol officer owing to lack of operational experience. I appreciate that some functions within the organization might quite properly be undertaken by personnel from non-sworn backgrounds. Sadly, he died in We would appreciate it if any Police Association members could identify any of the officers in the photo.

Having a court structure next to a charging station makes sense for each LSA apart from Sturt which is tied in with Adelaide. This enables quicker and easier access for overnight custodies to be brought before the court to have their bail matters heard. Closing these courts would tie up more patrols that will have to convey people in custody from, for example, Holden Hill cells to Elizabeth to have their bail matters heard.

For example, it would make going to court a lot harder for people with severe physical disabilities, be they victims, witnesses or defendants. I can understand that the court system is under a tighter financial budget, as is every other government department, but I think they should be looking at other avenues to cut costs, such as the removal of their personal vehicles. It is going to be a massive inconvenience to the general public.

People will have to travel much further if they need to access the services the courts provide. This will also be the case for police. There will be further for police to travel with offenders, which means police will be off the road for longer periods. My fear is that it will be the very people the courts are set up to protect who will lose out. In R v Woolley , Erle, J stated: I remain to be convinced that this will not lead to more warrants and more failed trials as the witnesses fail to attend.

On the upside, legal access will be easier where more practitioners are in the one place. Larger prosecution units will have to be managed carefully to ensure that double-handling of files does not lead to increased workload. The magistrate representation will be more resilient with numbers in one or two places. The general order on electronic control devices have finally wound up on the accoutrement belts of uniformed police officers, still stipulates that officers are only to deploy thanks to constant Police Association lobbying.

Tasers in incidents which satisfy the criteria of a The change in policy took effect on October 1. It would be a welcome addition to police-related legislation, too. This is the way Police Association member Sergeant Leigh Winton sees it, after suffering an anxious wait several years ago to see if he had contracted a communicable disease from a violent offender. As a solo patrol officer back in , Sgt Winton responded as backup for a colleague who had just arrested a woman for traffic offences.

The action that was about to follow would alter his life for several months. But he soon realized that she had little desire to cooperate with the police. The screen was blank. To the great relief of not only Sgt Winton but also his family, the test results question that kept circulating in my head was: The Police Association Though Sgt Winton succeeded in arresting the has successfully lobbied the government to implement mandatory blood-testing of violent woman without further incident, he now faced an ominous trip to the hospital to undergo an array of offenders in such situations.

The new laws will not only provide police peace most concerned about, as most police would be in of mind, but also enable affected officers to begin, those circumstances. I needed to be careful indeed, for his or her family to worry. The question that kept circulating in my head was: To enquire about previous issues, articles or photos, contact editor Brett Williams on 08 or by e-mail brettwilliams pj. Emotional survival for law enforcement Renowned US behavioural and management consultant Dr Kevin Gilmartin returns to Adelaide… After the overwhelming success of his March presentation to SA police officers and their families.

Dr Gilmartin will again share his professional expertise to help other police avoid burnout and survive the personal impact of their job. Brought to you by. Book today to avoid disappointment. If Ebola turns up in Australia… How well equipped and prepared are our medical authorities to deal with it? The initial case was an Ikanamongo Village woman who became ill with symptoms of Ebola after everyone. But we learned about the virus, developed she had butchered a bush animal that her husband had killed.

Then it became a manageable problem. Five health-care workers The biggest risk of spread lies in countries in which subsequently died. It is one of five distinct Ebola species, or strains: Several infectious diseases, such In August, Sierra Leone passed options and, until we as malaria and typhoid, are endemic to a law that will impose a two-year West Africa and mimic the symptoms do, caution about the jail term on anyone found to be of Ebola disease.

So doctors and hiding a person believed to be spread is appropriate. T h e n e w m e a s u r e wa s In August, the World Health Organization made announced as a top parliamentarian lashed out its first overall case fatality rate estimate of 52 per at neighbouring countries for failing to do more to cent. It ranges from 42 per cent in Sierra Leone to curtail the outbreak.

But the fear now is that this 66 per cent in Guinea. Such a situation is unlikely in Australia, where no was previously reported to have a fatality rate above 90 per cent. Ebola is introduced Not all the outbreaks are related. In Africa, infection has been documented through the handling of infected chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead in the rainforest.

Animals in Australia are unlikely to be carriers of the virus. Ebola spreads in the community through humanto-human transmission. Infection results from direct contact through broken skin or mucous membranes with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and indirect contact with environments contaminated with such fluids. Men who have recovered from the disease can still transmit the virus through their semen for up to seven weeks.

Diseases such as malaria, typhoid and yellow fever are the ones most likely to be confused with Ebola. But they are uncommon in Australia, so our authorities will have a high index of suspicion in the case of an infected person. And our burial customs are such that we are unlikely to spread the virus from dead bodies. Burial ceremonies in which mourners have direct contact with the bodies of the dead play a role in the transmission of Ebola. We have a good water supply and are able to wash easily. Our medical system is accepted, as is our medical advice, and we can reduce transmission risk while investigating suspect cases.

We have access to protective equipment that works and our laboratories can follow up cases to exclude alternative diseases. It is appropriate to take care, but Ebola is unlikely in Australia and would, in any case, be easily spotted. We would be able to control the spread of infection easily.

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Treatment options are still being refined but Australians in Australia are low risk. Tempting the mainstream buyer In light of the Mercedes pedigree and equipment, the pricing represents excellent value. Among storage areas around the cabin are a compact glovebox, centre console bin, trays under the front seats, and door and map pockets. An electrically operated tailgate provides access to the cargo bay with space varying between and 1, litres seats folded. It features an aggressive grille, alloy roof rails, inch alloy wheels, tailgate lip spoiler, dual exhausts and convex rear glass.

In its classy, sports-themed interior are comfy seats, good visibility and flexible cargo arrangements. The dash has big gauges, large round air vents and a central colour LCD screen with audio, DVD, reversing camera and satellite navigation. With the sporty, leather-bound steering wheel comes reach and rake adjustments and buttons for audio, phone and trip computer.

This is excellent value considering its pedigree, equipment level and standard turbo-diesel, seven-speed automatic drivetrain. Metallic paint comes at a high price: Easy-to-drive all-rounder And it seems to meet consumer expectation on price, choice, safety and servicing. Radar-based collision prevention assistance.

Run-flat tyres with pressure warning. Front and rear parking sensors. LED daytime running lights. Combined fuel economy, helped by the engine stop-at-idle function, is claimed to be an impressive 4. The engine has ample power and is never stressed. It is super quiet for a diesel. The seven-speed twin-clutch auto works superbly and, when using the paddle shifters, squeezes every inch of power from the engine.

The ride is firm but compliant, and cornering is biased toward agility. The Hyundai Series II ix35 comes with promises of exterior, interior and mechanical improvements. A wide body and wide wheel track add to its athletic appearance, as does its curved roof with shark-fin antenna and convex tailgate with a lip spoiler. The mid-spec Elite features comfy seats covered in a combination of leatherette and woven materials. Drivers score a power-adjustable seat and the leatherbound steering wheel has reach and rake adjustments.

A smart, user-friendly dash layout includes a central colour screen with audio, sat-nav, DVD and reversing camera functions. A gated gear-selection lever with manual mode controls the six-speed auto. The traditional lever-operated park brake remains. These will comfortably handle three kids or two adults.

Cargo space is generous and dropping one or both of the rear seats is a simple task. A full-size spare hides under the flat floor with additional storage space around the tyre. Standard on all models are: Also standard are hill-start assist, downhill brake control and rear parking sensors. Newer safety systems, such as blind-spot and lane-departure monitoring, are not yet available. Claimed fuel economy varies between 7. Entry Active 2WD only has a 2. Elite 2WD features the same 2. Highlander is only available in AWD with either.

The ix35 is light and easy to drive. Ride is firm but comfortable and cornering confident. Three years capped-price servicing and a five-year warranty add to its appeal. Ryan stepped her through the requirements. To move your business banking, or to find out why Police Credit Union is better than your current financial institution, call or e-mail dlu policecu. To arrange a preliminary in-person or phone appointment contact PASA on 08 Have you or a family member been injured in a car accident?

Tindall Gask Bentley acts in more motor vehicle accident claims that any other law firm in SA. Internal Investigation Section turns up! What do you do? An order to answer questions in a disciplinary interview without being apprised of the allegations If someone is at your door, you are not required to against you is not a lawful order. IIS let them in. A general search warrant authorizes the You are entitled to particulars of the allegations and Anti-corruption Branch speak to police officers holder among other things to enter premises where more than you know.

If you are unwell or suffering from fatigue, offence has been committed. I do this for a living. I know my rights. However, you should them, seem to forego or forget their rights. You need to be and let anyone inside. The association is are rarely short. You need to this, you should seek advice. As you know, there is be physically and mentally fit to participate. It can put you straight onto a lawyer to get advice.

It is not the are recorded. The protection of human rights is an important seem minor or can be easily explained. In a criminal interview, this is often true. An Tindall Gask Bentley Lawyers provides free initial how they are forgotten when one is caught off order to recall yourself to duty advice through a legal advisory service to Police and open the door is not a lawful guard and faced with the stress of the situation.

Association members and their families, and retired. Detective Inspector Debra Hawkins has domestic violence in her sights. But as head of a new police unit targeting violence against women within cultural enclaves, she has hit a wall of silence. How can she help Rana al-Sheikly, a young woman who yearns for the freedom to lead her own life while her brothers are planning to send her into a forced marriage in Iraq? And what is the connection between the al-Sheikly men and the crime gangs that are running rife in the suburbs? A series of anonymous e-mails has Hawkins following her personal secrets, too — back to her childhood and the murder of her police sergeant father.

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Dishonour taps straight into the issues of our times. When t wo boys vanish under mysterious circumstances, the local community is filled with unease. Then a bloodstain is discovered in a disused World War II hangar nearby, and a caravan belonging to one of the youths is burned to the ground. Things quickly become much more sinister. Assigned to the case, DCI Banks and his team are baffled by the mystery laid out before them.

The affected men and women were very articulate about their grievances and extremely legitimate demands. In it is correct that compensation payments were made at the rate of Rs. After this the villagers have got no notice whatsoever. On the Irrigation Minister laid the foundation stone of the dam. The farmers are rightly arguing that they have been in physical possession of the lands all these years and therefore they should be compensated as per the Act.

The government must be sensitive to the fact that the earlier households have multiplied and the compensation must be provided to all adult families who will lose their livelihood. It is also very pertinent that in the meanwhile the Forest Rights Act, has come into existence and we found that many of the farmers have been granted Pattas under the Act; however the government is refusing to compensate them for the loss of such lands, which is absolutely against the spirit of the Act.

The work of the dam was started on On that very day, efforts were made to intimidate them. After the Tehsildar assaulted a young man Atiq Ahmed, people rushed in from the weekly market and a fracas ensued. Right from that day cases were foisted on 16 named and unnamed persons. Despite this, the villagers continued with their peaceful protest, however since the government was not carrying on any negotiations and at the same time the dam work was progressing, on 14th April they decided to shift the venue of the dharna closer to the site.

The deployment of the PAC was increased to about jawans. On 18th April early in the morning the administration was determined to remove the protestors. The district force and PAC surrounded the dharna site, uprooted the pandal and mercilessly beat and chased the villagers right up to their villagers. They entered Village Bheesur and not only beat up men and women, but vandalized a motor and motorcycle of Ram Lochan.

Colesia showed us her injured arm and fingers and was in tears because she did not know where her husband Mata Prasad was. People were not certain where missing family members were since the injured have been taken to the Dudhi Health Centre and if any person tries to contact them they face the threat of arrest since between the cases made out against them for the events of 23rd December, 14th April and 18th April cover about persons.

But the team found out that the following had been injured mostly with fractures and were possibly hospitalized. The number of women injured is significant: Similarly the PAC people chased the protestors of Village Sundari too right up to the houses on the outskirts of the village. They damaged motorbikes and cycles even setting fire to them. We observed that the work at the dam site seemed to be progressing fairly fast. The height of the dam which was earlier stated to be about The Police had cordoned off the area and there were still a large number of PAC trucks and personnel in their makeshift camp of sheets.

When the team reached Village Sundari, there was an extremely tense atmosphere. Some dominant caste-class persons were holding a meeting in which others seemed to be quite subdued. Some very vocal local leaders told us that they do not want any interference from any outside NGO or organization.

Most of them were quoting the DM Sanjay Kumar belligerently saying that he had said that all protest and movements should stop.

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Otherwise he would foist so many cases that they would rot in jail for the rest of their lives and use up all the compensation in paying lawyers. Some persons who seemed to have been sent by the administration were clicking our photos when we introduced ourselves. The leaders told us that they had decided to accept the compensation and would be going to the DM to inform him so as that was the only way the cases would be lifted. However our most tragic experience was in the affected villages of Chhattisgarh in block Ramchandrapur of district Balrampur.

Even when the current MLA Brihaspati Singh of Congress tried to hold a meeting at Sanawal in which he invited the protestors of UP, lumpen supporters of Ram Vichar Netam made it difficult for him to educate the villagers about this. Yet the villages are in blissful ignorance. Only after the incident on the UP side of the dam occurred, on 18th April an Engineer came to Jhara village and stated that acres of land would be submerged out of which acres was private land.

But even this is not the truth since it is clear that the entire village is to be submerged. As we were leaving Jhara village we saw a whole convoy of 6 Government Scorpios rushing through the village. Clearly, the state at some point has to begin some legal acquisition proceedings and seem to be at a loss as to how to do so. Strangely enough, keeping up the pretence of no submergence Shri Netam has had many constructions sanctioned in Sanawal and surrounding villages whereas ordinarily, once there is an intention to acquire, government expenditure is kept to a minimum.

As we returned to Ambikapur, we heard that another fact finding team from Delhi who were to meet with the injured in hospital and the Collector Sonebhadra, had been detained for questioning. The rapidity and the ruthlessness with which the dam is being built, at any cost, indicates that is unlikely to be for the stated purpose of irrigation. With large industrial projects coming up in Sonebhadra UP and even in neighbouring Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, on the cusp of which this dam channelizes the waters of Kanhar and Pang rivers, it appears to be that providing water to these projects and also hydel power are likely to be the real causes.

The Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan comes to the following tentative conclusions on the basis of its fact finding — 1. The demands of the project affected farmers, particularly dalits and adivasis, are eminently reasonable and the administration should enter into sympathetic discussion with them to redress their very legitimate and legal grievances. Work on the dam should be stopped during such negotiations so as to create an atmosphere of good will. The complaints of the protestors should be registered as FIRs and action should be taken against the errant police jawans.

Using the threat of false cases against the protestors to arm-twist them to accept unjust compensation and rehabilitation is a form of state terror. In the State of Chhattisgarh, there has been absolutely no transparency, information or following of legal procedure with regard to affected 27 villages. The provisions of the Act beginning with the pre-acquisition procedure of Social Impact Assessment, Gram Sabha Consultation all these areas are Scheduled areas , determination of Forest Rights, Public Hearing on Rehabilitation and Resettlement packages etc must be strictly followed.

Finally, the attitude of the Uttar Pradesh Government and the district administration of Sonabhadra in restraining activists from entering the area or making an enquiry into the facts on the ground is undemocratic and reprehensible. For violations involved in public hearing, see our earlier blog [1]. The comments given below under each heading are only indicative to establish what is contended about the EIA here and not exhaustive.

But an EIA is not supposed to uncritically accept such assertions or assumption of the developer. In fact the EIA accepts this as gospel truth without critically examining it. Incomplete EIA The EIA executive summary does not even have a project layout map, sections like biodiversity impact assessment, impact of destruction of substantial part of Panna Tiger Reserve, surrounding forests and livelihoods of the people dependent there on, options assessment, hydrological viability assessment, disaster potential assessment, how the project will be impacted by destruction of forests and climate change, additional green house gas emissions due to the project and downstream impacts, to name just a few issues..

Chronological Journal Entries

As the collector of Panna district noted in itself [6] , if the sq km catchment of the Ken river upstream of the proposed Daudhan dam comprising areas of eight districts: Panna, Chhatarpur, Sagar, Damoh, Satna, Narsinghpur, Katni, and Raisen were to use the local water options optimally, then there will not be any surplus seen in Ken river at the Daudhan dam site and by going ahead with the Ken Betwa Link without exhausting the water use potential of Ken catchment, which is predominantly a tribal area, the government is planning to keep this area permanently backward.

But the EIA of Ken Betwa link does not even go into this issue, making the whole exercise incomplete. In Para 63, the EIA executive summary goes on to claim that the project will not decrease tourists flow due to destruction of Panna Tiger Reserve or drying of waterfalls in the downstream , but in fact increase tourist inflow because of the creation of reservoir!

No word about the destruction of river!! Absence of credible submergence figures The EIA has hugely reduced the area to be affected in Panna Tiger Reserve and in the surrounding forests compared to the figures given in the Feasibility report of the project, without any explanation. Well known conservation expert Kishore Rithe, in his article in December issue of Sanctuary Asia Magazine has raised doubts about these figures and has suggested that much larger area will be destroyed by the project than what is stated in the EIA.

He has also said that the EIA does not take into account the biodiversity that will be destroyed in the forest because of the project. None of the species of aquatic plants come either under rare or endangered or endemic or threatened categories REET. D Joshi and B.

Out of these, 51 species are native and 2 exotic. Tor tor Mahseer , Chitala chitala, Eutropiichthys vacha, Ompok pabda. Puntius sarana sarana 4. This could be due to reduction in flow as a result of diversion of the water to the Ken-Betwa link. In para 59 the EIA executive summary says: The inter linking of rivers provide another route for fish migration from Yamuna to Betwa and ultimately from Betwa to Ken.

Further, the distance from Duadhan dam to the place of confluence of Ken with Yamuna is longer as compared to the distance from the place of confluence of Betwa with Yamuna and Daudhan dam through link canal. Thus, this route will facilitate rapid migration of fish. This para not only shows how poor is their understanding of fish, rivers and ecosystems, it also shows by AFCL should be blacklisted from doing any EIAs.

Another example ecological illiteracy of the EIA consultants. In next para, this becomes population of ! Two paras latter, in para 83, the population affected by the reservoir becomes ! In para 92 the EIA executive summary says: This is when the minimum agricultural wage rates for unskilled labourers w. Than it says for this purpose, a total of ha of land will be required! This comes to 5. This is clearly a cruel joke on the ST and SC families and shows how great an impoverishment programme this project is.

Firstly, the basic mandate of this corporation is Agriculture Finance, and as we all know agriculture finance is in bad shape in India, one of the major reason for the agrarian crisis. In stead of focusing on its core area, this corporation has been majorly working on preparation of Environment Impact Assessment related work.

After careful examination of the report, the committee was of the opinion that the report has been prepared haphazardly … As such the data reported flora and fauna is of little value … No fresh study on water quality has been undertaken … No mention has been made about as to how many water bodies ponds, lakes, Jheels, springs, etc.

Separate plan for rehabilitating the riverine species should be done. Fishery Management Plan does not say anything as to how measures will be taken for the conservation of the fish fauna occurring in the region. Instead, it talks about cultivation of economically important fish… Plan for the Biodiversity Management also needs significant improvement. IVI should be calculated for dominant species.

Nothing has been said about the rehabilitation of mahseer and similar other species , in spite of its endangered nature.


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The Financial outlay for both the plans has been prepared just as an eye wash and need thorough revision and enhancement of at least ten to fifteen times. The Biodiversity Management Plan is also having very small financial outlay. This also needs significant enhancement. This EIA is clearly unacceptable and should be rejected. Appropriate steps should be taken against the current EIA consultants.

The public hearing planned on Dec 23 and 27, should be cancelled as there is no basis for conducting an informed public consultation. This EIA and also the public hearing conducted based on this EIA will not stand public, scientific, social or legal scrutiny. EIA Provisions are inadequate. The EIA also does not address many of the issues I raised following the earlier version of the EIA shared with the expert committee, this is pretty shocking too. This brief note is sufficient to show why the current EIA for the Ken Betwa link proposal is unacceptable and the best course of action would be to go for a fresh EIA with a more credible agency.

Pl include this note in the agenda of the 9 th meeting of expert committee on ILR. This is not an exhaustive comment, but provides sufficient reason to reject this EIA and commission a fresh EIA from a credible agency, in consultation with the Expert Committee.

However, these public hearings violate fundamental legal norms in letter and spirit and should be cancelled and not held till these violations are rectified. Secondly, even the executive summary of EIA-EMP Report on the website is put up in such an obscure fashion that it is not possible for any common person to locate it.

I was then told that I should call to talk to Mr Kuswaha about this. Manoj Kumar told me at 5. He however, confessed that even the executive summaries were not there about 15 days ago! Then one needs to click List IV. There is no mention of the date of Public Hearing here.

He said they are available at designated places, but about not being available on MPPCB website and available executive summaries not being properly displayed on MPPCB websites, he said that he is unable to do anything as that is happening from Bhopal. In any case non-display of the public hearing date and executive summary in Hindi and English in easily searchable form is another violation of the EIA notification.

Thirdly, when we go through the Executive summaries in English and Hindi, we see that both are incomplete in many fundamental ways. The Hindi executive summary [1] has completely wrong translations. I could find nine gross translation errors in just first 16 paragraphs. This makes the Hindi translation completely incomplete, wrong and unacceptable. It does not have a project layout map, sections like options assessment and downstream impacts. Fifthly, the EIA claims in very second paragraph: As the collector of Panna district noted in itself , if the sq km catchment of the Ken river upstream of the proposed Daudhan dam comprising areas of eight districts: Even within MP, the link canals will pass through and thus affect people in Tikamgarh district, but the public hearing is not being held in Tikamgarh district either.

The same base line data that is now more than five years old is being used in the EIA being used for this public hearing! This is again in complete violation of the EIA norms. However, issuing the letter almost four years after the EAC meeting and that too without mentioning the deemed clearance is clearly in violation of the EIA notification. The TORC letter is invalid also from this aspect. One of the conditions was that a downstream study will be done by Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute.

This becomes particularly important since there is a Ken Ghariyal Sanctuary [5] which will be affected, as also the Raneh falls, both are also tourist attractions. This is yet another reason why this incomplete and inadequate EIA cannot be basis for the public hearing from Ken Betwa Project. Here we only see how illegal is the Public hearing for Ken Betwa link to be held during Dec 23 and 27, in Chhatarput and Panna districts. The Ken Betwa link project itself is unviable and unjustified and should not be taken up at all. But that will need another article. They also do not seem to be bothered that the Ken Betwa link will only have adverse impact on Ganga and this will also affect the Ganga Rejuvenation that they say is their priority.

We hope the proposed public hearing will be cancelled. In any case, any clearance given to the project based on such a public hearing will remain open to challenge. That the environmental laws and governance needed streamlining and a strong, unbiased review was beyond doubt.

Such a step was welcome and not an issue for environmentalists or rights groups to take umbrage to,in principle. In reality, overlooking the socio-political realm that infuses political and executive discourse is hardly possible or advisable. As pointed in this critique published in EPW, the report came at a time when environmental issues were abused and made to stand in judgment like no other.

Even the most unbiased observer cannot miss context in which the report is laid out. Terms of Reference of this committee were:. Environmental, Social or Economic requirements? The committee did not even attempt to clear air about these issues, though questions were raised. The composition of the committee also raised serious issues.

So we had a committee of 4 members and 2 secretaries with questionable credentials, with an unclear TOR and put together by a government which had taken a biased stand on environmental issues sitting in judgment on all 6 environmental laws of the country [3] , related orders, institutions and mechanisms which would affect myriad communities, forests and ecosystems, in a period of initially 2 months, extended by a month. Unbelievably, in these three months the committee not only suggested radical changes in all of the above, but also recommended a brand new Law strangely called Environmental Laws Management Act or ELMA, which, they suggest, would prevail over all contrary judgments issued in past decades or provisions of any environment law promulgated till date!

This may give an impression that the Law or the recommendations are based on wide consensus. Finally when the report evokes not only current challenges, but even inter-generational equity, it sounds too good to be true! Where are the people? But as you continue reading through the lucid prose, you get that strange feeling of missing the elephant in the room. Where are the millions of people who live in forests or mountains or river valleys and islands or far flung villages, who are most affected by shoddy environmental governance? Why is the report not even mentioning the hardships faced by thousands of such fishermen who lost their livelihoods due to pollution of Vashishthi creek while the MPCB sleeps, or the cracks on the homes of people in Uttarakhand due to hydel projects which received clearances from MoEF CC, or the remote hilly settlements in Himachal who lost their sources of water due to tunneling and blasting for hydropower, or millions of fisherfolk who lost their rights to their rivers, or millions of tribals and others who are still awaiting rehabilitation after being driven out of their homes and their livelihoods?

Why are they not a part of this discourse on environmental management? The report spouts Upanishads and Vedas but does not seem to acknowledge that coexistence with nature has been a part of our eco-region for millennia. As one reads on, the bias against communities and community protests gets clearer, starker and more disturbing. Along with communities, there is hardly any mention of impacts of destructive projects on forests, communities and wildlife.

But we are not to question the rationale behind several large scale destructive projects. To illustrate, in the case of Wild Life Protection Act, the report does not talk about habitat destruction due to development projects as one of the major threats to wildlife, but limits itself to hunting, poaching, man-animal conflicts and loss of corridors.

Just to put things in perspective, in Arunachal Pradesh, Dibang Basin projects and Siang Basin projects can together submerge more than 23, hectares of prime wildlife habitat and affect several Schedule I species. After notable recommendations in Forest Conservation Act, succinctly critiqued here , the report seems to get down the business: Environmental and Forests Clearances. Let us see how these provisions, if accepted, will play out in real life, for example in case of Assam , which faces downstream impacts of Hydropower projects in upstream Arunachal:.

Does this look like a conducive, encouraging environment to bring out accountability, transparency and inclusive environmental governance? On the ground, this may mess up issues further, fuel conflicts and delay projects, rather than fast tracking them! All in Three months: The Report has also recommended how the clearance process should be.

This is possibly one of the most problematic areas of the report where all the focus is centered on getting the file move in full throttle. Many stalemates we witness today have their roots in inadequate TORs. In fact in some developing countries, there is a Public Hearing at the TOR stage also so that affected communities and interested stakeholders can raise points to be included in the study.

NEMA is supposed to recommend approval or rejection with reasons within two months of receiving the application. The basis of 2 months is not clear as the EIA study itself has to be at least a single season one year study! On this Clearance express, there are some compartments which belong to the bullet train. It is not clear how soon they will be appraised, or, approved, but imagination runs wild here.. So what constitutes projects of national importance? Monitoring will be web-based, technologically assisted and with minimal need for site visits.

This leaves absolutely no chance for any local affected community to be a part of monitoring, or be able to voice its concerns which may not show up on the hightech monitoring devises. The only place where committee mentions accountability is with reference to speed of clearance, failing which the Chairperson of NEMA will be held accountable. There is no accountability demanded either about failing to address impacts on ecology or on people. Overreach of the Committee: Hugely overstepping their mandate, the committee then proposes a new law for streamlining clearance and approval for projects at state and center by proposing Environment Laws Management Act, ELMA.

As stated at the outset, this is no product of interactive discussions with civil society or general public, but is a part of a report by 4 individuals assisted by 2 secretaries in a period of 3 months. If the statements made by the insured turn out to be incorrect or if material facts were suppressed or concealed, the insurance company could avoid its liability. This stress in Insurance Law is entirely misplaced and non-applicable in the realm of environment!

Firstly, the Insurer owns his body, and there is a solid footing to believe him. In case of projects, say for example a dam about to submerge hectares of prime forest or displace lakhs of people, the proponent is making a claims about something he does not own , but which is public property on which many others depend and which will be irreversibly impacted by the proponent. While in case of Insurance laws the Insurer does not have any concern for the Insured, in case of environment, it is exactly the opposite.

If the project affects environment in a bid for quick clearances, it is the MoEF which would be should be deeply impacted. There is absolutely no justification for using principle of Utmost Good Faith in the environmental realm, because most EIAs are fraudulent and compliances do not exist. Even currently, any false information provided at the time of appraisal process is a violation of Environment Protection Act and invites punishment. But there are examples by the dozen about how the MoEFCC refuses to take action even when clear evidence is presented to them about false information presented by proponent.

We know that monitoring is the weakest link in environment governance and there no reason to believe that it will improve in any way by making it web-based. In the absence of this, taking proponent at his word about the information he provides at the time of clearance or monitoring is not workable, justifiable or acceptable.

Merit-Based review and subject experts is one of the strongest assets of NGT, differentiating it from other courts and it is clear that this very role is being clipped by ELMA. Taking action is a very vague term. The undercurrent of the HLC report is indeed that the environmental governance will have utmost good faith towards the industry and utmost suspicion towards the affected, the concerned or the civil society.

There is no evidence till date to prove that this good faith in the industry is warranted without stringent checks and balances. Even in current compliance system the developers are supposed to voluntarily submit six monthly compliance report, but nothing happens if they do not and no one reads them if they do. This undercurrent overshadows some useful recommendations of the committee. The HLC report cannot be accepted in this form. Any review of environmental laws needs a consultative and consensus-based process and not a rushed work of two months by a biased panel with unclear and open-ended TORs.

The remedy, unfortunately, seems more problematic than the illness. Emmanuel Theophilus [1] etheophilus gmail. The dam is constructed a little downstream of the confluence of the two main tributaries upstream, the Sainj and the Tirthan, at the narrowest part of a spectacular gorge, towering with limestone cliffs. The impounded waters of this dam have, since its construction in , drowned the access road to the entire upper Kullu valley including Manali and the hundreds of villages upstream, including access to the entire Lahul valley and the region of Ladakh over the high passes from this end.

The HPSEB then constructed a 3 km long tunnel to enable passage of traffic, and many people have warned of the hazardous nature of the tunnel. The odd gods that descend from different valleys, on the backs of people to the lower Kullu valley every year in autumn however, refuse to use this tunnel. This is what compelled the HPSEB to build and maintain this tunnel, and during autumn to winter, to keep the water-storage in the dam low to enable the passage of gods, who have been traveling this route for over three and a half centuries.

It is remark-worthy though, that this dam constructed as recently as , seems to be heavily silted-up already and the dark shadows of sediment-shoals are visible just below the waters of the reservoir [3]. Being among the most recently completed, the Larji dam is the only dam on the Beas that has a fish-ladder, so it was of particular interest to us.

Seeing no guard at the security booth, we walk in to the HPSEB dam operating office, and ask to speak to an officer about the fish ladder. To our complete surprise, we are spoken to and even taken on a tour of the ladder by a foreman who has worked on the dam for many years. Having seen an elaborate fish ladder on the Kuri Chhu river in Bhutan of doubtful effectiveness [4] , we could not help but look at this one with hope and excitement.

The Union Creek Journal, December 2014 The Union Creek Journal, December 2014
The Union Creek Journal, December 2014 The Union Creek Journal, December 2014
The Union Creek Journal, December 2014 The Union Creek Journal, December 2014
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