News Wrap


Part of the Chindwin River system, the Mainpur River Sub-basin, comprises three tributaries, the Imphal, Iril and Thoubal rivers, which drain a 24,000 sq km area. Water is fed into Loktak Lake, near Moirang. Thoubal, Bishnupur and Imphal fall in the plains, drained by these rivers, which bring a lot of silt. Extreme rainfall creates quick flooding, causing extensive damage. In the region that witnessed flooding since July 2015, the Manipur state government has set up five hydel and irrigation projects, and three are under construction. Despite dams and barrages, the planned irrigation potential has decreased over the years, largely due to inundation or flooding. During extreme rainfall, the dams are not able to store water, and flood the same areas they are supposed to irrigate. Manipur state is yet to carry out a study on floods, despite enacting the Model Flood Plain Zoning Bill (1995). Over 5,00,000 villagers residing downstream of Mapithel dam in Thoubal district have been displaced. Areas upstream had been submerging since March 2015, because of the dam; and areas downstream due to rainfall and release of water since mid-July 2015. 60,000 hectares were inundated, and most of the paddy crop destroyed.

Population Projections
During a period of rapid population growth in India, from 1951 to 2011, the Hindu share of India’s population has dropped from 84.1% to 79.8%. UN projections of peak population stop at 1.71 billion, compared to 1.21 billion in 2011, when Hindus were already 966 million in strength. Indian Census indicates that Christians are growing in number more slowly, than both Hindus and Muslims, in spite of Christian evangelism. Half of India’s Christians happen to be in the southern states, which have slower population growth across communities. The majority of the Muslims are in the northern and eastern less developed states, which have higher population growth rates than the all-India average. The illegal immigration from Bangladesh can be noticed in the distinct demographic trends in the districts of Assam and West Bengal, that border Bangladesh. Muslim representation in India’s parliament—the Lok Sabha—has shrunk, while the Muslim population has increased from 9.8% (1951) to 14.2% (2011). The higher population growth rate of Muslims is a reflection of their relative poverty. India’s total population in 2011, was 121.09 crore.

Desalination Plant
The Gujarat State Government and a number of Singapore and Japan companies, including Hyflux Itochu and Hitachi signed an agreement to develop Asia’s largest seawater desalination plant in the Dahej Special Economic Zone, three years ago. The $600 million (Rs 4000 crore), 336 million litre per day project is now on the verge of termination. The Dahej SEZ region in Gurajat relies solely on the rapidly depleting potable water from the Narmada River for needs. The desalination project was to start operations by 2017, but has virtually made no progress so far, even though land has been allotted by the state government. Construction has not started yet. The Singapore company Hyflux has suffered drop in net profits since 2012.

Doping Scandal
The University of Tubingen in Germany led a research project in 2011, which was financed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The damning survey reveals a third of the world’s top competitors admitted cheating by using banned performance-enhancing techniques. A team of academic researchers extracted confidential confessions of cheating from elite athletes at the world championships in Daegu, South Korea in 2011. The damning survey concluded that 29 to 34% of the 1800 competitors at the championships had violated anti-doping rules, in the previous twelve months. The World Anti-Doping Agency had given the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) the power to veto publication in return for allowing access to the athletes at Daegu. The IAAF has blocked publication of the report on drugs cheats. The study’s authors have been gagged for the past four years. The IAAF had not even commissioned the survey, but had used its influence to suppress it. The act of delaying publication by the IAAF for so long without good reason, is a serious encroachment on the freedom of publication.

Vol. 48, No. 19, Nov 15 - 21, 2015