Depleting water resources, a global concern: PM
New Delhi Feb. 5. Four days ahead of the Cauvery River Authority meeting, convened to resolve the Cauvery water dispute, the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, said here today "while Tamil Nadu’s demand is reasonable, Karnataka’s demand is also not unreasonable." He was hinting at the drought situation in both the States.
Mr. Vajpayee has called for the meeting between Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Pondicherry and Kerala over distress-sharing of the Cauvery waters on February 10. Inaugurating a curtain raiser of The Freshwater Year, 2003, he said depleting water resources had become a global concern. He emphasised the need to end the indiscriminate exploitation of ground water and urged the States to legislate on the issue.
In a veiled reference to the Sutlej-Yamuna Link dispute between Haryana and Punjab, Mr. Vajpayee pointed to the Haryana Chief Minister, Om Prakash Chautala, who was present, and said, "I understand his anguish.’’
Freshwater was important for man, animal and environment and the slogan should be to catch water where it falls. Bemoaning the refusal of ‘sants’ to take a dip at the "polluted sangam" in Allahabad recently, the Prime Minister said the Ganga Action Plan and the National River Conservation Plan should be implemented with a greater sense of urgency.
Speaking on the occasion, the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, K.C. Pant, said reports about the presence of high level of pesticides in bottled water were "disturbing.’’ He also expressed concern over reports that some State Governments were contemplating commercialising reservoir or river waters and said that doing so would not only place undue hardship on riparian users but also make drinking water supplies prohibitively costly and beyond the reach of the poor. A strong regulatory regime, sensitive to the poor, should, therefore, be first put in place, he said.
The Union Water Resources Minister, Arjun Charan Sethi, said the development of water resources should be accelerated along with efficient management measures and increased attention towards managing the demands.
The Secretary, Water Resources, A.K. Goswami, underscored the need for a participatory approach for "meaningful and informed decision-making’’ and capacity building.
The conference was attended by Water Resources and Irrigation Ministers from the States.
Realities of LPG converted automobiles
WITH THE installation of dispensing stations for LPG emergence of vehicles fitted with safety-approved LPG-conversion kit by the manufacturers, the prospects of environmentally cleaner fuel replacing petrol is getting brighter. But this is the time when the public will have to get ready to face some performance factors associated with petrol vehicles converted to LPG, with dual fuel facilities, as the engine is not optimised for gaseous fuel.
In case of petrol engine, a small part vaporises in the intake upon injection, taking the latent heat from the intake air and cooling the air-fuel mixture and increasing its density. The remaining portion gets into the cylinder in liquid phase and evaporates taking the heat from the hot combustion chamber walls. However, in the case of LPG, this charge cooling effect is totally absent. The fuel is preheated and vaporised in a heat exchange-pressure regulator before it is mixed with air in the manifold, resulting in a relatively high mixture temperature and a low mixture density . Besides, gaseous fuel denies nearly its own volume of air being used with liquid fuel in the cylinder and limits the peak power.
The findings reported by users adopting conversion kits in their vehicles reveal that it gives higher benefits in terms of km/rupee. This comparison is wrong, since pricing of the different fuels is dependent on various factors. LPG like kerosene is subsidised for domestic consumption and the cost would be less, while commercially available cylinders may also be cheaper.. Performance assessment on basis of km / l or km / kg will not be correct since there are variations of density and calorific value of both fuels. From thermodynamic considerations, a real picture will emerge when comparisons are made on the basis of energy input of the fuel in kilo Joules (kJ).
A group of SAE India students belonging to Sree Venkateswara College of Engineering made a study on vehicles using petrol and LPG. The results, give slightly lower kilometres per unit of energy input (km / kJ) for LPG.
Hence one should be prepared for the lower ‘mileage’ in the case of LPG. Also the customer who has paid for the expensive electronic fuel injection (MPI or SPI) will find no use for this excepting on occasions when the vehicle has to switch over to petrol in case of short supply of LPG.
A fully optimised engine for LPG can compensate for lower mileage. Use of higher compression ratio, leaner operation capability, better mixture formation, cleaner combustion without deposits and longer lubricant life with lower cylinder wear are some of the special benefits.
B. S. Murthy
Centre orders probe into bottled water contamination
NEW DELHI FEB. 5. The Centre has ordered an inquiry into the alleged inadequacies in the packaging of drinking water/mineral water, sold after a Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS) certification, based on the findings of the Centre for Science and Environment.
The Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Sharad Yadav, has set up an inquiry committee headed by the Additional Secretary in the Ministry with the Director, BIS, as member-secretary.
The other members of the committee include a joint secretary level officer from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and one technical officer from the BIS.
The committee will look into the adequacy of standards for packaged drinking water and natural mineral water.
It will probe whether the standards are being properly enforced by the Bureau. The panel will also look into the testing facilities available with the Bureau, besides examining the status of alignment of standards for package of drinking water and natural mineral water with current international standards.
The committee will also conduct an inquiry into the linkage of the BIS standards with the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act under which packaged drinking water and natural mineral water had been made mandatory. It will suggest remedial measures in case of inadequacies. The committee will submit its report within three weeks.
The tests carried out by the Pollution Monitoring Laboratory of the Delhi-based NGO, the Centre of Science and Environment, showed samples of almost all water bottles available in Delhi containing pesticide residue higher than the stipulated levels. What has caused concern is that the BIS regulations are not strict enough for bottled water manufacturers, some of which are owned by multi-national companies.
The norms for bottled manufacturers are easier than those for piped supply. Besides, the BIS did not have the sophisticated equipment required to detect the pesticide residue.
Linking rivers: Two states want plan watered down
The Indian Express, [FEBRUARY 6, 2003]
New Delhi, February 5: Though interlinking of rivers is becoming an obsession with the Government, two states spoke against the project at the 12th National conference of water resources and irrigation ministers in Delhi.
Maharashtra’s Minister for Irrigation Ajit Ghorpade said the "Prime Minister’s ambitious project of interlinking of national rivers would not at all prove beneficial to Maharashtra." Ghorpade asked the Centre to divert water from its westward-bound rivers to Godavari and Tapi instead.
Kerala also urged the Centre to not go ahead with the Pamba-Achankovil-Vaipar link project as the state is already facing water shortage in this basin. This is going to be part of the interlinking of rivers project and has already been studied by the National Water Development Agency (NWDA).
"We hold that the consent of the state should be obtained for utilising the river waters within its territory for purposes elsewhere, in view of the constitutional provision bestowing control of such rivers to the states," he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee also stressed on rainwater harvesting and said it should be taken up on a ‘war footing.’ He declared 2003 as the ‘Freshwater year 2003’. This is in line with the UN’s International Freshwater Year.
In the Vision document prepared by the Ministry of Water Resources, although about three-fourths of the earth is water, the per capita availability of fresh water is fast declining all over the world. If the present consumption patterns continue, two out of every three persons on earth will live in water stressed conditions — moderate or severe water shortage by 2025. In India, per capita average annual freshwater availability has reduced from 5,177 cubic meters in 1951 to about 1,869 cubic meters in 2001 and is estimated to be down to 1,341 cubic meters by 2025.
Drought: Central team promises to present ground realities to Govt.
NALGONDA FEB. 5. Declaring that the drought condition in the district is "very serious,’’ the two-member Central team promised of presenting the ground realities to the Central Government so that it could provide the required assistance.
After visiting 15 villages in Naryanapur, Munugode, Chandur and Nalgonda mandals for an on-the-spot assessment on Wednesday, the team members, Sashi Prabha Gupta, the Technical Adviser, Women and Child Welfare, and C.P.Reddy, Deputy Commissioner, Rural Development, told reporters at the Collectorate that water scarcity was "very severe’’ and the farmers had lost crops "in a big way.’’
"All the water sources have dried up and all crops have failed. In several areas, there is no crop for years together," observed Ms. Sashi Prabha, who headed the team. She said that the team would submit a report to the Central Government along with a list of efforts of the State Government. "We have come here to observe the steps that have been taken up by the State Government to mitigate the drought situation as well as to estimate how far we can extend assistance," said Mr. C.P. Reddy. He said that the Government had to do more to tide over the situation. "The State Government has done the job for some extent, but there is much more to do. Officials brought the issue of paucity of funds to our notice. We will represent this in our report," he said.
Asked whether the team was satisfied with the steps taken by the State Government, he evaded a direct reply, but said "They (State Government officials) said that there was paucity of funds. We will have a detailed discussion with the Chief Minister tomorrow. We will do as much as possible.’’
Earlier, the Collector, Ram Prakash Sisodia, submitted a report to the team suggesting that the district had incurred a loss of Rs. 690.22 crores due to severe drought. It sought Rs.228 lakhs to meet the immediate needs for augmentation works for providing drinking water in urban areas. The team visited fields, tanks and orchards and interacted with the farmers in four mandals. Lending a patient ear to the ryots, Mr. C.P. Reddy asked them to suggest steps to be taken by the Government in this critical juncture instead of explaining the problems.