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Coal-Water conflict

The unfair system of water allocations in Maharashtra needs to change. The government must stop allocating water to thermal power plants and industry. The water needs of farmers and their families must be met first.

Maharashtra's drought and water policy

Maharashtra's agricultural hinterland – especially Marathwada and Vidarbha – have been facing severe water crisis year after year. Issues of debts, crop failure, bad monsoon etc, have historically wreaked havoc on the farmers' livelihoods and driven them to suicide. This year, the state which is in the middle of what is being called the worst drought since 1972, is further under pressure.

However, despite this perpetual water crisis, the government has allowed water intensive industries to mushroom in these regions, and has also sold off the farmers' rightful water to them. 65 percent of these industries are thermal power plants running on coal, and require large quantities of water.

Scams and more

Maharashtra has also seen a massive scam in building dams where it has been reported that more than Rs.70,000 Crore was spent over ten years to only to have a marginal increase in irrigated area because of the cost of dams were escalated continuously and this has exposed the politicians-industries nexus in Maharashtra.

But the state’s grabbing and selling (allocating) of waters from dams- some of them yet to be commissioned seems to be a larger scandal hiding in the closet. The farmers are being deprived of their right to livelihood.

Last year our studies in Vidarbha’s Wardha and Wainganga rivers, done by IIT Delhi, showed that a cluster of 71 Thermal Power Plants and about 55000 MW coming up in Vidarbha will take away 40% water from Wardha and 17% water from Wainganga. This is water meant for agriculture.  Across the state more than 80,000 MW is being proposed.

Water for farmers

Without any doubt, the government is doing its best to provide relief measures to this disaster. But the real question is it learning to prevent a man-made drought of the future?

The government must realize that building more coal plants is not the solution to water scarcity or to the gap in electricity production.  It should first conduct an assessment of water availability in the rivers and all allocations should be suspended till this is complete. It  should actively promote renewable energy technologies which also have a potential to save water for irrigation and other needs, otherwise wasted by thermal power plants.

Help farmers get back the water allocated to coal power plants and industries across Maharashtra. Sign this petition to show your support.

The latest updates

 

Life changes when water dries-up

Blog entry by Neelima Vallangi | May 27, 2013

Image: © Neelima Vallangi/Greenpeace Dark clouds were looming in the sky. I could see the fields were all tilled and ready, waiting for the heavens to open up anytime now, many in hope of harvesting their first crop in an entire...

Grim reality of drought-hit Maharashtra

Blog entry by Neelima Vallangi | May 15, 2013

As the train chugged from Pune to Solapur, we passed by Ujani dam. I saw flocks of flamingos flying over the water.  It was a precious sight, a sight I wouldn’t see for the next few days as I travelled in the drought hit districts of...

Greenpeace activists’ occupation of MV Meister sparks anti-coal debate in Australia

Blog entry by Arpana Udupa | April 25, 2013

Gaurav, and the 5 activists camped the whole night on the ship, had a simple meal, saw a few shooting stars and generally conversed with the crew of the ship. I got a chance to speak to Gaurav in the night. He seemed relaxed and okay...

Live blog: what do you want us to do? Stop climate change, ofcourse!

Blog entry by Arpana Udupa | April 24, 2013

Five hours later, the situation remains the same. The ship continues to move forward and we continue to follow it. The activists on board are safe and sound, and we are continuously checking on them, waving from the safety rhib (rigid...

Australian coal: the view from India

Feature story | April 21, 2013 at 4:54

My name is Arpana Udupa, Climate and Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace India. I’m on board the Rainbow Warrior, travelling up the Queensland coast.

Protecting farmers from future drought does not need “extreme measures” but a strong...

Blog entry by Jai Krishna Ranganathan | April 9, 2013

An open letter to Deputy Chief Minister Maharashtra, Mr Ajit Anantrao Pawar. Respected Sir, Greenpeace India is appalled at the callous and insensitive comments made by you as the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, in Indapur,...

No water for drought-hit Maharashtra as thermal power plants prosper

Blog entry by Swati Mehta | March 22, 2013

Water was over. The sun was beating down our backs and a red-yellow, dried, mountain trail was around us. Our trek should have ended before sunrise, it was mid-day now. The desperate need for water was terrifying. Luckily we knew we'd...

Point of No Return in pictures

Feature story | January 22, 2013 at 18:30

The world is quickly reaching a point of no return for preventing the worst impacts of climate change. Continuing on the current course will make it difficult, if not impossible, to prevent the widespread and catastrophic impacts of climate...

Water woes: when every drop counts

Blog entry by Dr Pallavi Singh | January 9, 2013

As a child I once came across this phrase 'Water water everywhere, not a single drop to drink'. Though always amused, my young mind could never quite envisage the gravity of the above lines. Years later, I can perhaps now imagine how...

Convention on Biological Diversity: whimper rather than a bang

Blog entry by Abhishek Srivastavaa | October 24, 2012

The world gathered in India last week, with almost 15,000 delegates from 193 nations enraptured in chalking out a plan to tackle the decline in biodiversity by 2020. The summit seemed too big to fail, especially considering the...

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