18.03.01 : 2004 Olympic games
in Greece are threatening wildlife habitats.
British scientists from RSPB (Royal Society forthe
Protection of Birds) have just released a study on the site of Schinias
which has been proposed by the greek government for the Olympic games
Their report, proving that this coastal wetland has a high biological
value, is reinforcing the campaign against the choice of this site.
18.03.01 : Pakistan : Raising
Height of Mangla to displace over 40000 people
ISLAMABAD : WAPDA's proposed plan to raise the height
of the Mangla reservoir by 40 feet will cost Rs 53 billion including
Rs. 20 billion for population resettlement, Dawn learnt on Monday.
The raising of dam's height, which has already been approved by Chief
Executive General Pervez Musharraf, entails displacement of around
40,000 people living in over 7,000 houses falling within the project
The storage capacity of Mangla Dam will be increased by 3.10 MAF (million
acre feet) and its energy output will be enhanced by 18 percent by
raising its height to 40 feet, said the feasibility report prepared
by WAPDA, as a part of its 25-year vision plan.
WAPDA has already initiated work for preparing engineering design
and tender documents, which, officials said, would take at least 18
months before starting physical work on the project.
Existing height of the dam is 380 feet having a storage capacity of
4.82 MAF with a potential to generate 1,000 MW of electricity. Mangla
dam was constructed in 1966, on river Jhelum near Mirpur, a major
city of Azad Kashmir. It has remained a major source of irrigation
water and hydro-electric power generation since then.
The country has a total storage capacity of 17.1 MAF and the raising
height of the dam will add another 3.1 MAF. However, the plan to increase
the height of Mangla dam is being opposed by the people of Mirpur
and the government of Azad Kashmir.
Prime Minister Azad Kashmir Sultan Mehmood Chaudhry had recently said
at a public meeting that his government had not been consulted by
the centre over this project. He said AJK government would oppose
the plan as and when the federal government would seek its consent.
Source: Dawn, Pakistan
17.03.01 : Flood plain drainage
blamed for severity of Eastern Europe floods
Conservationists believe that the draining of ancient
flood plains and deforestation have aggravated current flooding across
Eastern Europe As floodwaters continued to rise across Ukraine, Hungary
and Romania, WWF called for rivers to be allowed to flow naturally
to avoid the severity currently experienced.
Full article under : http://www.edie.net/news/Archive/3982.cfm
16.03.01 : Petition to Stop
the Bakun Dam
INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO STOP THE BAKUN HYDROELECTRIC
While the effectiveness and cost-efficiency of dams are being questioned
around the world, it is with dismay that the government of Malaysia
has, for the third time, revived the mammoth Bakun Hydroelectric Dam
Bakun Dam will inundate an area as large as Singapore, with it, 12
totally protected species and 93 protected species of wildlife; 1,230
species of flora and fauna used for medicine, food, fibre and other
social uses, with an estimated value of RM 22 billion in annual forest
product revenue. The project will create adverse impacts on water
levels and salt water intrusion in the river downstream, potentially
affecting tens of thousands of people in Sarawak. It will also cause
degradation of fish habitat and loss of fisheries resources downstream
and in the inundated area.
The 10,000 indigenous people forcibly displaced by the project have
not received adequate compensation. Those who had relocated to the
Kampung Asap resettlement site are now suffering from abject poverty,
malnutrition, unemployment, appalling housing scheme and dire social
economic condition. Some have moved back into the dam site and more
are inclined to do the same.
Details and petition form are available at http://www.suaram.org/bakun.
Thank you very much.
Regards, Sam Hui SUARAM & SOS Selangor
"Sagen Sie nein zu Großstaudämmen in Ilisu und Tehri,
Herr Minister Müller!"
Spektakuläre Aktion vor dem Wirtschaftsministerium
Das Bundeswirtschaftsministerium will bald über Hermes-Bürgschaften
für deutsche Firmen entscheiden, die Lieferungen für ökologisch,
sozial und kulturell bedenkliche Großstaudammprojekte in die
Türkei und nach Indien exportieren wollen. Gegen die drohende
Verbürgung haben AktivistInnen von ROBIN WOOD heute gemeinsam
mit den Organisationen WEED, Urgewald, Kurdistan AG und medico vor
dem Bundeswirtschaftsministerium in Berlin protestiert.
"Ökodesaster-Vertreibung-Kriegsgefahr - Großstaudämme
stoppen - Sagen Sie nein zu Ilisu und Tehri, Herr Müller!"
lautete die Botschaft auf dem Transparent, das die AktivistInnen vor
dem Bundeswirtschaftsministerium gut sichtbar für Ressortchef
Werner Müller entrollten. Außerdem bauten sie eine Staumauer
mit dem Hinweis: "Müller mauert - Hermes hilft - Hermes-Reform
jetzt!" Der Gott Hermes persönlich jonglierte vor dem Spruchband,
das die Gefahren der geplanten Projekte auf den Punkt brachte.
In Ilisu (Türkei) und Tehri (Indien) sind Großstaudämme
geplant, die höchst bedenklich sind - sowohl aus ökologischen,
als auch aus sozialen und kulturellen Gründen! Würde der
Staudamm Ilisu realisiert, würden 78.000 KurdInnen aus 90 Dörfern
vertrieben werden, wobei eine Einbeziehung der Betroffenen in den
Planungsprozess nicht vorgesehen ist. Die Aufstauung des Tigris würde
massive ökologische und gesundheitliche Probleme verursachen.
Außerdem würden die Aufstauung des Wassers und die daraus
resultierende starke Beeinträchtigung der Wasserqualität
Konflikte mit den Anrainerstaaten herauf beschwören. Denn Syrien
und Irak sind vom Wasser des Tigris abhängig. Besonders eklatant
wäre die Überflutung der über 2000 Jahre alten Stadt
Hasankeyf, deren archäologischer Reichtum für immer verschwinden
würde. Der Großstaudamm Tehri im indischen, erdbebengefährdeten
Himalaya-Gebiet erfordert ebenfalls umfassende Umsiedlungen (ca. 100.000
Personen) und droht historische Kulturgüter zu überfluten.
Wesentliche Studien zur Sicherheit sowie sozialen und ökologischen
Folgen der Aufstauung des Bhagirathis wurden ignoriert.
Zulieferungen deutscher Firmen für diese Staudammprojekte sollen
durch Hermes-Bürgschaften aus Steuergeldern unterstützt
werden! Die entscheidende Stimme für die Gewährung von Hermes-Bürgschaften
hat das Wirtschaftsministerium. Dessen -parteiloser - Chef Müller
hält eine Reform noch immer für unnötig, obwohl sie
im rot-grünen Koalitionsvertrag im Herbst 1998 vereinbart worden
Diese Großstaudamm-Projekte sind der Prüfstein dafür,
ob die Empfehlungen der Weltstaudammkommission (WCD), die sich weltweit
mit den negativen Folgen von Großstaudammprojekten beschäftigt
hat, umgesetzt und eingehalten werden. Mit ihrer Aktion wollten die
beteiligten Organisationen dem Entscheidungsprozess im Wirtschaftsministerium
den notwendigen Impuls in die richtige Richtung gegeben. Sie fordern
die Bundesregierung auf, die Hermes-Bürgschaften zu reformieren
und die WCD-Empfehlungen sofort anzuerkennen und umzusetzen!
Für Rückfragen stehen Ihnen gern zur Verfügung
Birgit Zimmerle/Antje Schultheis (WEED) 0174-3952942 + 030-27586323/24
Regine Richter (Urgewald e.V.) 02583-1031
Orhan Calisir (ROBIN WOOD) 0173-2158222
Amed Omeri (Kurdistan-AG) 0173-2006998
Hans Branscheidt (medico) 06171-74135 + 0177-7321200
Source : MEDICO INTERNATIONAL ILISU NEWS
Balfour Beatty company challenged over Ilisu Dam
Campaigners will challenge construction giant Balfour
Beatty on Wednesday over its role in the highly destructive Ilisu
dam in Turkey. The challenge coincides with an International Day of
Action on Dams which will draw attention to the threat faced by people
and the environment by projects around the world.
Directors of the Ilisu Dam Campaign, including Mark Thomas and Kerim
Yildiz of the Kurdish Human Rights Project, will present the company
with a detailed Report on the impacts of the project. The Report was
compiled following a fact-finding mission to the area.
Campaigners are urging Balfour Beatty not to build the Ilisu dam which
- affect up to 78,000 people, the majority of them Kurdish; - flood
an area the size of Manchester, submerging some 183 villages and hamlets
as well as the town of Hasankeyf, an internationally important archaeological
site dating back 10,000 years; - threaten to cause conflict over water
resources between Turkey, Syria and Iraq.
The Report, 'If the River Were a Pen...', follows a fact-finding mission
to the Ilisu area by an international team from the UK, Germany, the
US and Italy - all governments which are considering support for the
Nicholas Hildyard, UK member of the Fact-Finding Mission says:
"The Ilisu dam cannot meet international standards, particularly
as regards the resettlement of affected people. Faced with our Report's
findings, how can Balfour Beatty justify its continued involvement
in this disastrous project?"
Friends of the Earth Policy Director Tony Juniper added:
"Whitehall sources tell us that Tony Blair wants to kick this
issue into the long grass until after the General Election. But this
is a key test of Labour's environmental and ethical credibility. He
must say no to Balfour Beatty's export credit without further delay."
The Report concludes that:
- the conditions set by governments require only paper commitments
which are meaningless in the context of the reality on the ground
in Turkey - one of human rights abuses, repression and intimidation
The social, political and economic rights of the Kurdish people in
the region remain repressed, so there can be no confidence that the
Turkish authorities will abide by the conditions, the Report states;
- While the Report's authors welcome the fact that conditions have
been set, they argue that they do not go nearly far enough. Moreover,
the conditions are now outdated, having been superseded by the new
guidelines on dam construction recommended by the World Commission
on Dams. Ilisu, the authors claim, violates each and every one of
the WCD's new guidelines.
- In particular, conditions in the region make it impossible for resettlement
to be carried out in a fair and just manner; while consultation with
affected people has been inadequate, biased and constrained by intimidation.
Doubts also exist as to the true number of people potentially affected
by Ilisu - which although estimated at 78,000 could yet climb higher.
15.03.01 : Medha Patkar,
anti-dam activist, arrested in Bombay
National Alliance of People's Movement national convenor
Medha Patkar was Wednesday arrested when she along with 300 project-affected
people activists, tried to defy prohibitory orders in south Bombay,
and march to the Vidhan Bhavan, police said.
Patkar has been to taken to an unknown destination by the police,
NAPM activists claimed.
Leaders from constituent parties of the ruling Democratic Front, including
Mrinal Gore (Janata Dal-S) and Prakash Reddy (Communist Party of India)
participated in the demonstration, they said.
Earlier, the activists staged a protest, as part of a week-long demonstration
against 'anti-people' projects of the government and emanded that
every project undertaken by the state government be people-oriented
At the protest, Patkar said the government should involve people in
''The projects are meant for people and people cannot be removed from
the projects,'' she said, adding, ''this is an awareness programme
for those in power and also to expose the hollowness of the rehabilitation
policies that remain only on paper.''
A week-long awareness programme on the World Trade Organisation agreement
is also planned from March 16 and the programme will be moving to
different parts of the city, she added.
15.03.01 : Portugese guarantee
to Maheshwar Project refused
Loan of Rs. 200 crores falls through, Harza out of
Project Escrow cover for Maheshwar Project collapses, NBA demands
White Paper on the Project
In a lethal blow to the controversial Maheshwar Hydro-electric Project
being built on the river Narmada in Central India, the Portugese government
has in a recent development, refused to give the COSEC guarantee to
the multinational firm Asea Brown Boveri. The ABB had applied for
this guarantee from the Portugese export credit Agency COSEC, in order
to secure a tied loan of Rs.200 crores (US dollars 46.28 millions)
from the private German bank- Hypovereinsbank for the sale of ABB
produced hydro-mechanical equipment to the Maheshwar Project. In the
absence of the COSEC guarantee the Hypovereinsbank loan of Rs.200
crore to the Maheshwar Project has also fallen through. As a result,
Alstom- the French Power utility that had recently bought ABB's hydro-power
division is without the guarantee that can help make the supplier's
contract that they have with the Project promoters of the Maheshwar
Project a reality.
The refusal of the COSEC guarantee to the Project also implies that
the 6% equity that the ABB was to bring to the Project will no longer
be forthcoming. Nor will the equity share be replaced by Alstom. It
may also be noted that the commitment of Project equity of 16% that
was to come from Siemens has not been renewed after Siemens failed
to obtain the Hermes guarantee from the German government for the
Maheshwar Project in August, 2000.
The Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Portugal confirmed in a
recent written communication to a Portugese organisation that the
COSEC guarantee for the Maheshwar Project has been refused. This development
which has come closely on the heels of the US power utility Ogden's
withdrawal from the Project in December 2000 (that was to give 49%
of the Project equity) seems to suggest that this is the very end
of the Project. This also means that, in all, in the last few months
71% of total Project equity has been withdrawn from the Project and
the loan component of Rs. 825 crores has become worthless in the light
of the desired guarantees having being refused.
In another important development, it is learnt that Harza International
of the U.S.- the company that was responsible for the monitoring and
coordination of the civil works for the dam has withdrawn from the
Project. The IFCI reappraisal report underscored the cruciality of
Harza's presence to the participation of financial institutions in
the Maheshwar Project, given that the S.Kumars have no previous experience
in Hydro construction. Harza's withdrawal has now put the Project
at technical risk and will jeopardize further any possibility of Indian
financial institutions participating in the Project.
The refusal of the COSEC guarantee is clearly a vindication of the
issues being raised by the Narmada Bachao Andolan that has insisted
that the Maheshwar Project is fundamentally flawed on technical, social
and environmental grounds. The Maheshwar Project has a crossed history
over the last four years as company after company left the Project
in the face of the people's resistance and the truth of the issues
that they are raising. In 1998, the US power utility PacGen withdrew.
In 1999, two German power utilities Bayernwerk and VEW Energie withdrew.
In June, 2000, the Development Ministry of the German government commissioned
a team to visit the area and assess the social and environmental mitigation
plans. In the wake of a sharply critical report, the Hermes guarantee
for the Project did not come through and the Rs.600 crore German loan
for the Project fell through. Then in December 2000, the US company
Ogden also snapped its ties with the Project. The refusal of the COSEC
guarantee and the collapse of the Rs.200 crore loan as well as the
withdrawal of Harza is only the last desertion from this dying Project.
In the mean time, the escrow cover for this Project has also collapsed
after the bifurcation of the erstwhile Madhya Pradesh. The original
plan was to allocate the revenues available from the regional account
offices (RAO) of the MPEB in Ratlam, Mandsaur, Bilaspur and Ambikapur
towards the compulsory annual payments of over Rs.600 crores to the
Maheshwar project. However after the bifurcation, Ambikapur and Bilaspur
have gone to Chattisgarh. According to the report of the CRISIL advisory
services of October 1999 submitted to the Supreme Court, Ambikapur
and Bilaspur were to contribute 80% of the total revenues to be allocated
from the four revenue centres to the Project. The revenue from the
other MPEB centers in Madhya Pradesh having already been allocated
against earlier borrowings, it becomes fairly evident that after the
creation of Chattisgarh, there is no longer any escrow cover available
for this Project and Madhya Pradesh has no ability to provide any
escrow cover for this Project. The recent Shivraman Committee report
on the financial condition of the MPEB (Madhya Pradesh Electricity
Board) has also confirmed that the MPEB has no escrow capacity at
all. In the circumstances the Indian financial institutions are hardly
likely to risk investor confidence by investing in this dying Project.
Neither can this Project be entirely funded by Indian financial institutions
because notifications of the Central Power Ministry do not allow more
than 40% public investment for any privatized Project. Moreover, the
Project has neither received a techno-economic clearance by the Central
Electricity Authority of the Power Ministry at the proposed investment
level of Rs.2254 crores nor do the private Project promoters have
a statutorily required environmental clearance needed for constructing
the dam further.
The Maheshwar Hydro-electric Project is a big dam being constructed
on the river Narmada in Madhya Pradesh. This Project will submerge
or adversely affect the lands and the livelihoods of nearly 50,000
people in 61 villages in the area. But a large part of the power produced
(nearly 78%) will be produced during the monsoon when the demand is
very low and there is a surplus of power in the state. For the 8 non-
monsoon months of the year the Project will produce an average of
only 1- 1.5 hours a day.
Moreover, this Project will produce electricity that will be prohibitively
expensive. This Project will produce power that will cost Rs. 7 per
kWh at busbar for all power and Rs. 9.65 per kWh at busbar for peaking
power. The Power Purchase Agreement of the Maheshwar Project is similar
to that of Enron in which the government has to make payments to the
Project promoters irrespective of whether electricity is produced
or not, or whether it can be sold or not on account of its prohibitive
rates. The Enron experience has shown us the true costs of privatization
in the power sector is the unacceptable enrichment of a single company
at the cost of the entire society.
The Government of Maharashtra has been compelled to seriously reconsider
the Enron Project at this late hour. No doubt it will have to pay
very high costs. Yet in Maheshwar, nothing is lost yet. Not even the
financial closure has been effected. It may be far wiser to scrap
the worthless Maheshwar Project now rather than later. In the light
of the Enron controversy, the NBA demands that the Government of Madhya
Pradesh immediately issue a white paper on the Maheshwar Project and
disclose details of power tariffs, expected payments and how the state
government intends to pay for this Project for the next 35 years.
The Narmada Bachao Andolan calls on the Madhya Pradesh government
and the Central government to take cognizance of the flawed nature
of this Project and its disastrous technical, social and environmental
impacts, not the least of which are concerns about seismicity in the
light of the recent and tragically destructive earthquake. It asks
them to scrap this Project once and for all, and implement cheaper
and better energy alternatives.
Narmada Bachao Andolan Jail Road, Mandleshwar, District Khargone,
Madhya Pradesh Telefax : 07283-33162, E-mail: email@example.com
14.03.01 : Pakistan: Small
dams planned all over country, says Musharraf
Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday said
many small dams costing about Rs200 billion would be built at various
sites in the four provinces to address the water shortage problem.
He was responding to a question asked by a woman councillor at the
concluding session of women councillors' convention here. Gen Musharraf
said it was not right to think that construction of only Kalabagh
dam could fulfil the irrigation and power generation needs of the
He said instead of insisting on building Kalabagh Dam in the presence
of reservations of Sindh and the NWFP provinces, the government had
decided to prepare feasibility for small dams like Hingol Dam in Balochistan,
Gomal Zam Dam in the NWFP and Sehwan Dam in Sindh. However, instead
of spending Rs800 billion on Kalabagh dam, it had been decided to
go for small dams which could serve the same purpose, he said.
Hingol Dam, to be built at a cost of about Rs15 billion, will have
the capacity of one million acre feet and will irrigate hundreds of
thousands of acres of land. Gomal Zam Dam will consume about Rs20
billion and will have the capacity of 1.3 million acres of feet.
He said Kalabagh Dam could be constructed when Sindh and NWFP provinces
did not haveobjections over its construction.
He said many more dams had to be constructed to cater for the requirements
of the country. "This has to be a constant process. Bhasha Dam
will also be constructed," the CE observed. Small dams, he said,
could be completed within five years while construction of the Kalabagh
Dam would take 10 years.
Gen Musharraf lamented that instead of building small dams the governments
in the past, had been insisting on the construction of Kalabagh Dam.
"If they had taken the decision 15 years back, many dams would
have been completed by now," Gen Musharraf said. He said the
height of Mangla Dam could be raised to further four to five feet
which would increase its storage capacity.
Source : Dawn, Pakistan.
14.03.01 : Dam protesters
occupy Brazil's Ministry of Energy
BRASILIA, Brazil, (ENS) - The Brazilian Ministry of
Mines and Energy was occupied this morning by 1,500 people who came
from all across the country to protest the negative effects of large
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